Formula 2: Jehan Daruvala Bags Podium Finish in Saudi Arabia

In the Saudi Arabian round of the Formula 2 championship, India's Jehan Daruvala swept to a double podium finish. The 24-year-old, who races for the Dutch team MP Motorsport, had climbed from fifth to third place after a hard-fought victory in Saturday's Sprint Race.

By Reetika Bhatt | on March 21, 2023 Follow us on Autox Google News

With a valiant third-place finish in the Sprint race of the Saudi Arabian round of the Formula 2 championship on Saturday, Indian driver Jehan Daruvala raced to his 16th podium finish in the championship. The 24-year-old MP Motorsport driver dropped to just three laps from the finish after making a risky bid for the lead that almost resulted in him taking his first victory of the year. The driver started fifth and was battling with eventual winner Ayumu Iwasa for the victory. Even so, he finished second to Victor Martins and just over a second behind Iwasa to earn a podium finish for the second time in a row on the Red Sea track's barrier-lined, high-speed sweeps.

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Formula 2: Jehan Daruvala Finishes Third

Jehan Daruvala has always performed well in Saudi Arabia; last year, the 24-year-old burst through the pack to place first. He continued to run well, placing third in the sprint. He finished fifth in qualifying and lined up fourth for the main feature race after Theo Pourchaire was given a penalty for causing a collision in the sprint race. In Saturday's Sprint Race, Jehan made a quick start but was boxed in by the Campos cars of Ralph Boschung and compatriot Kush Maini.

He had a chance to pass thanks to a safety car that backed up the field on the second lap. Maini and Jehan duly took advantage of the chance to outmuscle their fellow Indian and pursue the Red Bull-sponsored racer Jak Crawford. On lap 7, Jehan sent Crawford off just a few seconds before Theo Pourchaire and Oliver Bearman's collision brought about a second safety car period. As the race began, Jehan was pursuing Boschung, who had just taken second place. The MP Motorsport driver swept around the outside of Turn 1 to take second, and the Swiss racer was unable to fend off his charge.

MP Motorsport and Daruvala decided on an early pitstop approach. From that point on, it was all about controlling the pace and tyre wear. After battling Iwasa and holding off the fast Martins behind him, he eventually had to give up after his gamble on the first turn for a fifth F2 victory failed to pay off. In front of Jack Doohan, Frederik Vesti crossed the finish line to win the fourth F2 race of the year in as many races. Daruvala completed the podium once more by coming in third after them. Kush Maini had an underwhelming feature race, finishing 12th and outside the points.

Daruvala's recent string of podium finishes gives him a much-needed boost in terms of points and confidence after a disappointing season opener in Bahrain. After the letdown of Bahrain, "this was a really strong weekend for us and some much-needed results," he said. 

“We were quick and consistent all throughout and we executed everything perfectly, which allowed us to capitalise on our potential. We can take a lot of confidence away from the Saudi round and I’m really looking forward to the upcoming races,” he further added. Jehan finished in the top three in Jeddah for the second year in a row after moving up from 14th to third in the track's Feature Race the previous year. With 24 points, he is only nine points behind leader Ralph Boschung in the standings.

Also Read: Formula 2: Jehan Daruvala secures third podium in Imola

Formula 2: What's Next?

The next event on the calendar is the Australian GP, which will take place between March 31 and April 2 in Melbourne's Albert Park.

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