Post race, Jess and I sat down to look back on the key features of the eleventh Formula 2 Feature and Sprint of 2020. Together; we discussed the downfall of our predictions, our race highlights and summarised the race as a whole.
Race Weekend Predictions
It was evident that the DAMS STRATEGY wasn’t their best
With the championship being prominent in everyones mind, I stated that my heart was set on Ilott and Virtuosi. Between the driver and the team, I wanted to see at least a podium, a win or some solid points and the feature race delivered just that. Ilott found himself on pole position ahead of Saturday’s race and finished second that day. Although the sprint race didn’t go to plan, the gap between Schumacher and Ilott has dropped to 14 points and still leaves Ilott in contention. The one thing that came as a shock to me was that I believed we would see Schumacher on the podium but Bahrain just wasn’t his weekend. Daruvala did a great job at keeping him behind to take his first Formula 2 podium.
Ticktum and Deletraz were my returning two that I hope do well every weekend and Bahrain delivered just that. Although Ticktum’s weekend wasn’t his best, he still managed to walk away with some points. It was evident that the DAMS strategy wasn’t their best this weekend and will definitely be something they work on ahead of this weekend. Deletraz, on the other hand, despite his weekend looking to be a write off on Friday after qualifying, really pulled through to take some points. After finishing 16th on the Saturday, a couple of points was the goal and the aim for the Sunday. With the safety car deployed and Charouz’ quick thinking of getting Louis to the pits for some fresh tyres, he was able to battle his way through the field to third place. Deletraz was definitely my driver of the weekend and I’m so glad he was able to pull it off.
For teams, I wanted to see Virtuosi back on top but Prema have managed to hold their ground as they still sit in first. My heart was with ART and Armstrong’s redemption and we saw just that. Although the ART was still lacking, Armstrong was able to take some good points with seventh on the Saturday and fourth on the Sunday. Hopefully next weekend is just as good or even better and he can finish his season on a high.
a massive talent at the young age of 17
Two months break provided an amazing racing spectacle, though in terms of the championship contender Ilott, it wasn’t so in the latter race. He started off well with a pole position – his 5th pole to be exact – followed by a 2nd in the feature race, but the sprint race was where it didn’t entirely go the way we expected it to. Colliding with Daruvala and then remaining at the back for the rest of the race was just the eventful but unfortunate race for him. Despite this, he’s closed down the gap from 22 to 14 and still has a fighting chance for the championship in the Sakhir round. For Zhou, a minor collision in the first lap sent him to the back, but incredibly climbed to 5th for the sprint race – an astonoshing feat no doubt. The Prema pair proved to be a challenge to beat. Shwartzman climbed up to 8th for the feature race to take his 4th win of the season in the sprint race, whilst Schumacher played a more reserved role throughout the weekend, attempting to keep his championship fight alive.
It’s incredible how I mentioned Armstrong to make a strong return, for him to do exactly that and come close to taking a podium. Marcus has definitely had a rough season, so seeing him where he deserves, especially with a 4th, was a sight to behold. Pourchaire is another driver that I loved mentioning during the Formula 3 season, because he’s got a massive talent at the young age of 17, where most of the grid are around the age of 20. Perhaps not a big result, but it was enough to make me proud! Unfortunately for Ticktum, despite starting 3rd for the feature race, it was just not his , only making 9th as his best result for the two races.
Prema taking 4 points finishes and a win compared to Virtuosi’s two meant they’ve extended their gap to 47.5 points. We’ve still got another two races, equalling to four races, so I’m remaining positive that they can compete. On another note, Hitech continue to extend their lead to ART, now at 58 points.
As we looked at how the audience predicted the weekend, 50% said Ilott would be on pole and they would have been correct. Ilott pulled out a beautiful stint on the Friday to take the four extra points and place himself first on the grid ahead of Saturday. 50% went on to say Ilott would then win but it was the 16.7% who said Drugovich that were correct. Drugovich drove a beautiful race and deserved the win. For second place, we saw a 50/50 split between Ilott and Schumacher and it was the 50% that said Ilott that guessed correctly. For the final podium spot, the audience had predicted Tsunoda, Ticktum and Mazepin but it was the surprise of Daruvala that took home his first F2 podium. With the fastest lap, the 33.3% who said Tsunoda guessed correctly.
ilott pulled out a beautiful stint
For the sprint race, first place went to Robert Shwartzman which 16.7% of the audience predicted correctly. As we look into second place, Mazepin took to the podium which nobody predicted. To finalise, we saw 16.7% of the audience guess correctly with Deletraz. For the fastest lap, it was the 16.7% that guessed Deletraz again which were correct.
With regards to most surprising driver, Pourchaire was the most popular. He had an excellent qualifying and, although his races didn’t quite match, he still did a great job for his first weekend in the car. Hopefully we’ll get to see a bit more of him this weekend in the final round. The other 16.7% went to Nissany, Ticktum, Armstrong and Drugovich. Nissany and Ticktum’s weekends weren’t anything to talk about compared to Armstrong and Drugovich. Armstrong managed to make an incredible comeback and take some good points while Drugovich found him winning his first feature race.
To finalise, we looked at the teams. Prema left with the most points once again with Virtuosi just behind. Prema was predicted to finish with the most points.
New Podium Finisher
We went on to summarise each race in three words, my feature review being Drive of Dreams. The top three all drove such beautiful races between them. Drugovich was able to get a great start and dominate the race, becoming untouchable to the rest of the competition. Ilott managed to hold onto a podium to finish second, taking a lot of points and closing down the gap to Mick who finished fourth. Then, we had Daruvala. Daruvala was a name that soon became swept beneath the mat when his car didn’t mesh well with his racing ability. To see him so high up, fighting for the podium, was a sight to see and I’d relive it over and over again if I had the opportunity. His defensive skills against Schumacher who was pushing for the podium showed everybody why he deserves to be there and why he graduated to Formula 2 in the first place.
Jess’ three words were New Podium Finisher. We saw Jehan Daruvala fighting off Mick Schumacher entering the podium at the closing stages of the race. For him to pull this off despite having worn out tyres and Schumacher being on newer mediums, she was astonished to see what he was capable of.
Drive of DReams
One of the three words from the audience was Drugovich the Boss. He truly did dominate the race and made it his own. The Brazilian deserved the win, making it his first feature race win. We saw another go on to say What a Start. The start is always the make or break point of the race and we were able to watch Schumacher climb through the grid. Drugovich and Ilott’s battle into the first corner left everyone on the edge of their seats and really reminded the viewers how competitive the sport is. We also had a mention on the appeal of the race with people going on to say it was a really good race. Overall, the entire feature race was exciting, nerve-racking and everything right with Formula 2.
Looking at the sprint race, my three words were Too Many Words. There’s so many things I’d love to say about this race. Shwartzman and his pace to keep himself first was immaculate. He held his own, powered ahead and deserved the win completely. My heart sank for Ilott and Daruvala as both deserved more out of the race. Both drivers are incredibly talented and it was so disappointing to see that that was how it would all end. Armstrong’s ability to fight for a podium was also an incredible watch and really made the race that bit more exciting. And finally, like I’ve mentioned later on, Deletraz. The Swiss was on another level during the sprint race and I couldn’t keep my eyes off of him. He drove a beautiful race, kept it clean and took to the podium.
Jess’ three words were Literally No Words. Jess saw what was an exciting and enthralling race, full of ups and downs. She was happy for Shwartzman to be in 1st, but seeing Ilott lock up into the side of Daruvala was something she was not excited about. Aside from that, Armstrong was also up back where he should of been since the start of the season. And finally, Jess was unhappy about Pourchaire’s fire extinguisher going off, forcing him to retire.
The audiences three words were all to do with the collision that called the safety car. We had one person describe the entire situation as a rollercoaster of emotions which really did sum it up beautifully. It was incredibly sad to see Daruvala’s race come to a close so early on after his incredible race the day prior, it was also heartbreaking to know that Ilott’s chances of closing the gap in the Championship were gone. Someone else went on to express that they felt too much heartbreak during the entire situation while another simply put oh no Callum and I think that’s how we all really felt; oh no Callum.
Regarding highlights, my highlight this weekend surrounded the comebacks. Starting with Marcus Armstrong who started the season with podiums and slowly slipped through the standings as time went on. People thought his year was over but after an incredible qualifying and an even better sprint race that almost landed him on the podium, his redemption felt refreshing. Deletraz’ weekend redemption will alway be one that stands out to me the most. His qualifying was poor and his feature race lacked everything as he finished in 16th too, come Sunday, be charging through the field as if the previous days never happened. Deletraz’ race was clean and he deserved to stand on that podium.
Jess decided that her highlight was literally just Marcus Armstrong. She found that after a very disappointing second half of the season, it was nice to see him back where he belonged, at the front once again. It seemed odd for him to drop off afte ran incredible start to the season so when he was in 3rd for both races, Jess definitely was excited.
The audiences highlights for the feature race saw a mix of multiple opinions. We found somebody really enjoyed Mick’s start that most which improved his race and his positioning. Mick is great at starts and this feature race really showed that. Another couple stated that Tsunoda’s climb through the field was their highlight, one person describing him like a rocket, while others loved the fact that Ilott closed the gap and made the championship fight that little bit more exciting. Tsunoda’s climb mixes well with another persons highlight where they expressed that they loved that both Carlin’s managed to have a great race as Daruvala took to his first podium. With the discussions of podium, a couple others expressed that Drugovich’s dominance and pace was their highlight. Also, big congratulations to the person who got two out of three of their predictions right, I think you manifested this.
For the sprint race, we found all of the highlights to be very similar, the only one sticking out was Robert’s win. He drove an immaculate race and deserved the win in the end. Every other highlight was regarding Louis Deletraz, which, I don’t blame anybody for. Everything from his strategy to his performance and his down right pace made the race so much more exciting and nail gripping.
literally just Marcus Armstrong
Every weekend, we give people the opportunity to give any further comments on the race weekend and this weekend, some wonderful people gave us a couple of words we’d like to share with you.
We saw one person give a special mention for Pedro Piquet who should’ve had his first podium, Marcus Armstrong who’s looking for a strong finish to the season and Theo Pourchaire for out-qualifying his teammate at his first F2 race. Our second individual said: Formula 2 is completely different sport compared to Formula 1. It just gets the excitement from head to toe with a championship that has not been decided until the very last race. I really enjoy seeing those drivers try and get the most out of everything they have, because really a lot of drivers can compete for the wins, which is beautiful to see. You do not have to drive for one of the two dominant teams in F1, you can drive with a lot of teams in order to get a win or a podium. Amazing…
It’s with a heavy heart that I have to say that this upcoming weekend is the last weekend of Formula 2 for the 2020 season. We will be staying in Bahrain but competing around the outer track. It’ll be interesting to see who rises and who falls and finally, who takes the championship title.