Currently the only Indian racer in FIA Formula 2 (F2), Jehan Daruvala takes home third place after starting the Feature Race (Race 1) in Bahrain from eighth on the grid!
Ace Indian racer and Red Bull Racing Junior Jehan Daruvala achieved a significant milestone in his maiden F2 season as the Carlin Motorsport driver achieved his first podium finish of the season after an intense battle for the final spot on the podium with none other than championship leader Mick Schumacher. This also makes Daruvala the first Indian to stand on the podium in an FIA Formula 2 race, since Indian racer Karun Chandhok had won in the erstwhile GP2 Series (GP2 was rebranded as FIA Formula 2 in 2017).
Jehan seemed determined right from the start of the weekend as he was one of the quickest drivers in the practice session. However, due to a strategically flawed qualifying session, the Carlin Motorsport driver's chances of starting the race from the front row were marred. As he got caught behind traffic on his flying laps, Daruvala could only manage to secure an eighth place on the starting grid, still two spots ahead of current F2 championship leader and Prema Racing driver Mick Schumacher. Uni-Virtuosi Racing's Callum Ilott, meanwhile, secured pole.
To make matters more challenging, Jehan emerged in 18th place after his first pit stop but by Lap 19, he had managed to get right behind the front-runners and came all the way up to sixth. Schumacher, meanwhile, went in for his pit stop while leading the race. By this time, owing to his supreme pace, Jehan had managed to make up a few more places and consequently, Schumacher emerged behind Daruvala, in fourth.
The pressure was on Jehan since Schumacher had the advantage of being on fresher tyres than him. Despite Schumacher's best attempts though, Jehan held his nerve and crossed the chequered flag 0.8 seconds clear off the championship leader. Daruvala's teammate and Red Bull Junior Yuki Tsunoda also ran a phenomenal race, as the Japanese racer started from 22nd on the grid and finished an astonishing fifth! Brazilian racer and MP Motorsport driver Felipe Drugovich, meanwhile, won the race ahead of Callum Ilott.
This was the penultimate race of the 2020 F2 championship, with the Sprint Race (Race 2) set to conclude the season on Sunday in Bahrain.
Picture credits – James Gasperotti