Ralph Boschung had his first F2 win in 96 starts in Bahrain sprint race, as Pepe Marti took it in F3 with Campos registering wins on opening day.
Campos Racing’s Ralph Boschung kept the lead in sprint F2 race in Bahrain after the Top 10 were reversed as the DAMS pair of Ayumu Iwasa and Arthur Leclerc fought tooth and nail on the first lap where the Japanese maintained his nose ahead in second.
ART’s Victor Martins and MP Motorsport’s Dennis Hauger also made up places to fourth and fifth where Trident’s Roman Stanek’s slow start from the front row left him only sixth. A fast starter Jehan Daruvala was up to seventh in his MP Motorsport behind.
He jumped ART’s Theo Pourchaire, Campos’ Kush Maini and Prema’s Frederik Vesti in the Top 10, but Pourchaire was toying with the field as he climbed up to fifth within few laps to tuck behind his ART teammate Martins.
A 10s time penalty for Leclerc for starting procedure infringement where the mechanics were late to leave the car dropped him down the order along with Hitech GP’s Isack Hadjar. This helped Martins to be third with Pourchaire in fourth.
Daruvala was up to sixth after passing Stanek, who lost out to Maini despite squeezing the Indian off road in the approach to Turn 4. But the Trident driver came back at him to retake seventh after few laps behind. The Indian kept Vesti at bay for the last point.
Up ahead, Boschung had a solid gap to the fighting pair of Iwasa and Martins, where the Frenchman passed the Japanese in Turn 1 but the DAMS driver came back at him on the same lap to retake second, which allowed Pourchaire and Hauger to join at the tail.
After few laps of waiting, Martins got Iwasa in Turn 1 again but the Japanese tried to come back at him. This time the Frenchman was clever to avoid him which allowed Pourchaire to sneak past Iwasa at Turn 10 but the DAMS driver retook the place quickly.
This allowed Martins to run away as Pourchaire soon came under pressure from Hauger. The Norwegian eventually got through him for fourth in the chase of Iwasa. The Japanese locked-up in the final corner which allowed Hauger to get alongside him.
He passed him at Turn 1 but Iwasa stayed on for a while before letting go in fourth. Pourchaire was stuck in fifth with Daruvala on his tail, as Maini eventually got past Stanek for seventh after a long wait with the Trident driver under pressure from Carlin pair.
Enzo Fittipaldi had a lock-up at Turn 10 but still managed to get Stanek at Turn 1 for the final point, as up ahead Daruvala tried a move on Pourchaire for fifth but both were cautious in the wheel-to-wheel battle which allowed the Frenchman to remain fifth.
Just ahead, their teammates were in the fight for second where Hauger hustled Martins in the closing stages and eventually got through him at Turn 11. At the front, Boschung dominated the sprint F2 race with his first win in 96 starts.
He finished 10.8s ahead of Hauger, who took out nearly five seconds on Martins who completed the podium. Iwasa was fourth as Pourchaire managed to fend off Daruvala on the last lap to fifth, with Maini and Fittipaldi in points in the Top 8.
Carlin’s Zane Maloney passed Stanek in with the Czech driver dropping to 13th in a close fight, as Van Amersfoort Racing’s Juan Manuel Correa rounded the Top 10.
#F2 #BahrainGP Results of the sprintrace with a very solid race and victory for @BoschungRalph . Very impressed by @hauger_dennis in the @OfficialMPteam car. #MsportXtra @F2Inside @BAH_Int_Circuit pic.twitter.com/Aswm0nSu3p
— #MsportXtra © (@MsportXtra) March 4, 2023
As the lights went out, Colapinto and Martí immediately went toe-to-toe into Turn 1, with Colapinto’s defence holding firm against the Spaniard’s attempts to go around the outside. Sweeping into Turn 2, the Campos Racing driver then lost out to Caio Collet, who leaped ahead of him into second.
Trident’s Oliver Goethe nailed his getaway to move up from ninth to sixth. Meanwhile, MP Motorsport’s Jonny Edgar was making overtakes left right and centre, climbing up to 10th from 15th. Further back in the pack, Rafael Villagómez’s race soon came undone. Battling Gabriel Bortoleto, the pair made contact, pitching the #18 Van Amersfoort Racing car into the wall and bringing out the first Safety Car on Lap 2.
The Safety Car peeled into the pits at the end of Lap 6 and Colapinto left it right to the last second to restart things, catching the field off guard and going clear into Turn 1. Behind him, Martí tried to put the pressure on Collet, but found himself vulnerable to PREMA Racing rookie Paul Aron. The Spaniard eventually got the job done on Collet for second into Turn 4.
Hitech Pulse-Eight’s Luke Browning suffered an early end to his race, getting tagged from behind in the first corner which triggered another Safety Car appearance. Colapinto held the lead ahead of Martí on the restart. With DRS activated, the Campos driver wasted no time putting the Williams junior under pressure. Sailing around the outside of Turn 4, Martí made the move stick and began to pull himself slowly out of Colapinto’s reach.
The time behind the Safety Car meant that tyre degradation was less of a concern. PREMA’s Aron and Dino Beganovic continued to chop and change in the battle for fourth, with the Mercedes junior eventually losing out to the Swede.
Out of DRS range by the final lap, Martí crossed the line to take the victory, as Colapinto had to settle for second. Collet rounded out the podium in third, ahead of rookies Beganovic and Aron. Goethe finished sixth, as Grégoire Saucy secured seventh for ART and Leonardo Fornaroli made it two Tridents in the top eight. Edgar and Hitech Pulse-Eight’s Sebastián Montoya fought back to bring home the final points paying positions in ninth and 10th.
#F3 #BahrainGP Here's the provisional results of the sprintrace a a number of investigations will be done after the race, including both safetycar restarts. @SophiaFloersch went from pitlane start to P22. #MsportXtra pic.twitter.com/GXNcvdTtgH
— #MsportXtra © (@MsportXtra) March 4, 2023
More to come