Maiden F2 podium for Jehan Daruvala at Bahrain GP support race
Manama [Bahrain], November 28 Indian racing star Jehan Daruvala earned his maiden FIA Formula 2 podium at the Bahrain Grand Prix Support Race. The Red Bull Racing junior is the first Indian to stand on the podium in an FIA Formula 2 Race, in the current era of the championship.
The F2 season moved to Sakhir, Bahrain, for the last 2 rounds of the F2 championship, and Jehan immediately showed his pace in the only practice session. In the last fifteen minutes, Jehan posted a lap time of 1:42.782 to go fastest. With just 5 minutes left, Nikita Mazepin of Russia, went faster by a mere 0.122.
Qualifying threatened to completely undo all of Jehan’s effort as he faced traffic on his quick laps, which allowed him to post a time, only quick enough for eighth on the grid, 2 places ahead of championship leader, Mick Schumacher. Callum Ilott of Great Britain earned another pole position.
Jehan made an excellent start for the Feature Race (Race 1) from eighth. He gained 2 places and stayed in a sixth for a few laps. Jehan and other racers on the medium compound of tyre, then seemed to struggle against those on the hard compound. Lap 5 saw Jehan lose 2 places and was forced off the circuit. The resulting loss of speed lost him more positions. Jehan stayed in tenth for a few laps before pitting to change tyres.
The 22-year-old Indian emerged from the pits down in 18th place. He then reeled off a series of quick laps to climb up the order. He gained more positions as others pitted and was running sixth by lap 19 of the 32 lap race. Jehan soon overtook multiple race winner Robert Shwartzman to move up to fifth.
Race leader Mick Schumacher then took his mandatory pit stop. Jehan’s blistering pace after his own pitstop meant that Schumacher emerged from the pits behind Jehan, who was now running third.
However, in a nail-biting few laps, Jehan without the option of DRS and a tyre disadvantage drove one of his best races of the season. With 3 laps to go, Jehan had to defend aggressively into the first corner, both drivers were side by side for a few corners but Jehan was not giving up in spite of his disadvantage. He held his nerve and placed his Carlin car in exactly the right places, preventing Schumacher from getting ahead.
2 laps before the end of the race, Schumacher momentarily got ahead of Jehan, but the Indian was not going to allow that and he braked late, to get the position back. Jehan’s excellent racing caused Schumacher to make a couple of mistakes. This allowed Jehan room to breathe. He continued his intelligent drive to increase the gap and crossed the line 0.894 seconds ahead of Schumacher, to earn a really well deserved third place. Brazilian Felipe Drugovich won the race ahead of Callum Ilott.