UNI-Virtuosi Racing’s Guanyu Zhou won the feature F2 race in Bahrain as Carlin’s Daniel Ticktum and Hitech GP’s Liam Lawson rounded the Top 3.
The feature F2 race in Bahrain started with ART’s Christian Lundgaard taking the lead in windy and sandy conditions from UNI-Virtuosi Racing pair of Felipe Drugovich and Guanyu Zhou – the two in front starting on the soft tyres to the latter’s hard.
Behind there was a shuffle with MP Motorsport’s Richard Verschoor in fourth from Carlin’s Daniel Ticktum, Hitech GP’s Liam Lawson, DAMS’ Marcus Armstrong, Carlin’s Jehan Daruvala and Charouz’s David Beckmann in the Top 10.
There was immediate safety car deployment when Prema’s Robert Shwartzman clipped the rear of DAMS’ Roy Nissany at Turn 4, which caught out MP Motorsport’s Lirim Zendeli. There was another unrelated off for HWA Racelab’s Alessio Deledda.
Shwartzman was handed a drive-through penalty. On re-start, it was a solid fight the lead between Lundgaard and Drugovich as the two went wheel-to-wheel for couple of corners. It was the Dane to continue in the lead, as Piastri made his way up to third.
Zhou dropped to fourth, with Armstrong – also on the soft tyre – made his way up to fifth from Verschoor, Ticktum, Lawson, ART’s Theo Pourchaire and Daruvala in the Top 10. The drivers on the upward move was the Sauber academy driver.
The one to lose out was Verschoor as he dropped to the fag end of the Top 10. The fight for lead was on between Lundgaard, Piastri and Drugovich, with the Australian making the most to take it ahead of the pit stops to come in the feature F2 race.
Lundgaard and Drugovich gambled with an early stop but a safety car for Charouz’s Gianluca Petecof, whose fire extinguisher blew, allowed Piastri to gain on them. The bigger gainer of all was Armstrong, who had the feature F2 race lead.
Piastri was second but didn’t waste long to take on Armstrong to take the lead as the Kiwi dropped to third behind Verschoor. Drugovich was fourth with Zhou, Lawson, Pourchaire, Daruvala and Ticktum rounding the Top 10 on re-start.
The lead fight continued on as Verschoor passed Piastri to take it, as the Australian lost second then to Zhou. Ticktum cleared multiple drivers to move up to fourth with Lawson in fifth ahead of Drugovich, Armstrong, Daruvala, Pourchaire and Lundgaard.
There were multiple penalties with Hitech GP’s Juri Vips getting 5s time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage. The same amount was handed to Drugovich and Lundgaard for safety car infringement, whereas Viscaal got a 10s penalty.
A late charge from Zhou helped him to fight Verschoor and take the lead, as the train behind were closely packed with Piastri, Ticktum and Lawson in it. There was gap to Armstrong then, who had Daruvala tugged on his tail for long.
The fight for third was on between Piastri and Ticktum, with the Australian managing to hang despite couple of tries from the British racer. The latter eventually got it but not without a contact as Piastri clipped the rear and spun around to a halt at Turn 1.
The move was put under investigation as VSC was deployed. Ticktum pressed on to clear Verschoor and almost had Zhou but not to be as the Chinese racer finally had a proper F2 win in Bahrain feature race, while the British driver had a solid second.
Post-race, Ticktum and Piastri were cleared of any action. Lawson, meanwhile, made it two podiums after passing Verschoor, with the Dutchman in fourth from Armstrong, Daruvala, Shwartzman, Pourchaire, Drugovich and HWA Racelab’s Matteo Nannini.
Drugovich kept ninth despite the penalty as Lundgaard dropped outside the Top 10, which helped Nannini to score his first points in 10th. The Dane ended up 12th behind Beckmann, with Vips in 13th from Trident’s Marino Sato and Campos’ Ralph Boschung.
Position 16-19: Guilherme Samaia, Viscaal, Zendeli, Piastri (classified). DNF: Petecof, Deledda, Nissany.
Here’s how first two races of F2 Bahrain panned out