Formula 2 Bahrain Grand Prix 2021

The start of the 2021 season starts off at Bahrain at Bahrain International. The races went ahead as scheduled, meaning the first round consisted of many new drivers but also the old. We saw Oscar Piastri, Liam Lawson, Juri Vips, Theo Pourchaire, Richard Verschoor, Lirim Zendeli, David Beckmann, Gianluca Petecof, Ralph Boschung, Matteo Nannini and Bent Viscaal make the step up to the second tier of the Formula series.

For those who are new and/or are still confused, the formatting of the weekend has changed from previous years, where the feature race is held on a Sunday, whilst there is an introduction of another sprint race, both held on a Saturday. The qualifying remains the same as prior, where the grid for qualifying is the same for the feature race. With the addition of another sprint race, it runs a little differently. The first sprint race’s grid is created from the top 10 of qualifying but in reverse order, meaning the driver who qualified P10 starts in P1 and so on, whilst those 11th on stay the same. For the second sprint race, it’s the exact same idea, but instead of using qualifying results, they use sprint race one’s results, which basically means that the driver who finished 10th in the sprint race, starts 1st in the second. The guide to Formula 2 will be updated soon to accumulate for the new changes.

“Going off the pre-season tests we did here, our race pace should be really good.” – Richard Verschoor

Qualifying

Lundgaard sets the benchmark time of the session with a 1:43.628, but went wide on the final corner, hampering his time. Felipe Drugovich beats the Dane’s time by 0.3 seconds, setting a 1:43.315. Zhou decides to go for the strategy of running in the period where everyone else has changed tyres. The Chinese driver sets the fastest sector two, to beat his teammate by 0.022 seconds.

With 10 minutes left on the clock, majority of the drivers came back on track to try and beat Zhou’s time, but it all came to a halt within 5 minutes left on the clock as Robert Shwartzman’s car lost power along the main straight.

Christian took no time to get his car up to speed as he sets the fastest lap of the session, going all purples, to set a 1:42.851, 0.442 seconds faster than Zhou’s earlier lap. Verschoor jumps to 4th, whilst Lawso, Beckmann and Pourchaire settle for 6th onwards. Dan Ticktum sets a lap enough to knock off Richard from 4th, now sat behind Drugovich. Despite the chequered flags being waved, Zhou and Drugovich were willing to give it their all to knock off Lundgaard from the top step. Guanyu sets a purple sector two, and ends ups etting a 1:42.848, merely three thousands quicker than what the ART driver set. Felipe didn’t have the pace to make it a UNI Virtuosi 1-2, but was enough to keep third.

Post qualifying, Guanyu Zhou was under investigation for crossing the chequered flag twice, but was dropped, allowing him to keep the position. Meanwhile, Juri Vips didn’t have it well for him, as he was disqualified for his car breaching technical regulations. All of his qualifying lap times were dropped, meaning he started from the back of the grid for sprint race one and also the feature race.

The grid is as follows:
1. Guanyu Zhou
2. Christian Lundgaard
3. Felipe Drugovich
4. Dan Ticktum
5. Richard Verschoor
6. Jehan Daruvala
7. Oscar Piastri
8. Liam Lawson
9. David Beckmann
10. Theo Pourchaire
11. Robert Shwartzman
12. Ralph Boschung
13. Marcus Armstrong
14. Roy Nissany
15. Bent Viscaal
16. Lirim Zendeli
17. Guilherme Samaia
18. Marino Sato
19. Matteo Nannini
20. Gianluca Petecof
21. Alessio Deledda
22. DSQ Juri Vips

“It was probably one of the greatest laps I’ve done in F2 Qualifying” – Guanyu Zhou

Sprint Race One

The sprint race grid is:
1. Theo Pourchaire
2. David Beckmann
3. Liam Lawson
4. Oscar Piastri
5. Jehan Daruvala
6. Richard Verschoor
7. Dan Ticktum
8. Felipe Drugovich
9. Christian Lundgaard
10. Guanyu Zhou
11. Robert Shwartzman
12. Ralph Boschung
13. Marcus Armstrong
14. Roy Nissany
15. Bent Viscaal
16. Lirim Zendeli
17. Guilherme Samaia
18. Marino Sato
19. Matteo Nannini
20. Gianluca Petecof
21. Alessio Deledda
22. Juri Vips

Lawson moves away from the grid the best compared to the two front row starters. Pourchaire leads from Beckmann, allowing the Frenchman to take second, whilst Daruvala slots in in fourth. Behind, there are several drivers battling side by side for position, however Piastri leads the midfield. Shwartzman passes Lundgaard and gets a good exit to start challenging his teammate, but with the door being closed for Piastri, he goes wide, allowing both the Russian but also Lundgaard to get past, who had now got Shwartzman ahead. Verschoor climbed his way back to 8th, getting ahead of Zhou, whilst behind them, Ticktum moves up to 10th ahead of Drugovich.

Dan Ticktum attempts to overtake Zhou, but with Verschoor being slow on exit, he clips the rear wheel of the MP driver, spinning him round. Drugovich was also clipped during this incident from behind, meaning he pit in for a new front wing and also new tyres. Ticktum was later given a five second penalty for this incident. At another section of this lap, Marcus Armstrong stopped on track, along with Ralph Boschung. Ralph was trying to overtake Marcus as he was veering off the track, but clipped the back of his car, ending his race. Both incidents caused a brief virtual safety car to retreieve them. Later, Samaia was given a 5 second penalty for virtual safety car infringements.

At the back, Petecof and Sato are fighting each other for 16th position, whilst closer to the front, Shwartzman was trying to catch his former teammate, Jehan Daruvala. The front three were within one second of each other, trying to catch up to Lawson. Dan Ticktum goes for another move for Zhou and gets past to 8th.

Beckmann was starting to catch up to Pourchaire, who was holding onto 2nd behind Lawson. Liam managed to build up a 1.4 second gap to Theo, meaning the ART driver was unable to use DRS to catch up, whilst David behind had the opportunity to do so. Joining the Pourchaire train, Daruvala was now within 0.7 seconds of Beckmann, putting pressure on the German rookie.

With Daruvala being now comfortable in the sport, he already had caught up to the back of Beckmann, coming close to 0.3 seconds just a lap later. Now under pressure, Beckmann was trying to cling onto the 3rd place, but after going wide, it allowed Daruvala to seize this opportunity to overtake, and thus did exactly that. With dirt and dust on the Charouz car, the advantage was clearly towards the Carlin driver. Despite all his best efforts, Jehan overtakes him around the outside, taking third – with Theo Pourchaire now ahead. Meanwhile, Vips was making his charge from the back of the grid after being disqualified in qualifying, now sitting in 12th after passing Roy Nissany. He had Bent Viscaal ahead, though was 1.6 seconds in front.

It all started going wrong for Theo Pourchaire’s first full season debut. His ART car started losing power, dropping down the order until he had to pull over. This enabled Daruvala to move up to 2nd and Beckmann into 3rd. With the car stuck on track, it enabled a small virtual safety car period, but swiftly went back to green flag racing.

Jehan was starting to use his expertise to his advantage, already within 1.4 seconds of Lawson, whilst also creating a 6 second gap to Beckmann. Just behind, Piastri overtakes Lundgaard down the inside for 5th, now sitting 1.7 seconds behind his teammate in 4th.

Merely a lap later, Daruvala closed the gap by 0.5 seconds to sit within the rear wing of the Hitech driver out in front. Their endeavour never ended, going all the way until the line, however the rookie of Liam Lawson managed to hold off his fellow Red Bull academy driver. Beckmann was just holding onto third against Shwartzman, in which the Russian was sat 1.5 seconds behind. Meanwhile, Piastri attempts a move on Shwartzman, but a strong defense from the Russian meant he kept ahead. Their battle with each other allowed Beckmann to continue making a gap of 11 seconds.

Viscaal was given a post-race penalty for overtaking Juri Vips under yellow flag conditions as he was yet to pass agreen flag, in which he was given a 5 second penalty. This dropped him from 11th to 13th.

The sprint race results are:
1. Liam Lawson
2. Jehan Daruvala
3. David Beckmann
4. Robert Shwartzman
5. Oscar Piastri
6. Christian Lundgaard
7. Guanyu Zhou
8. Dan Ticktum
9. Lirim Zendeli
10. Juri Vips
11. Guilherme Samaia
12. Roy Nissany
13. PENALISED Bent Viscaal
14. Matteo Nannini
15. Marino Sato
16. Felipe Drugovich
17. Gianluca Petecof
18. Alessio Deledda
19. DNF Theo Pourchaire
20. DNF Marcus Armstrong
21. DNF Ralph Boschung
22. DNF Richard Verschoor

“It’s awesome to win races, but the end goal is the Championship” – Liam Lawson

Sprint Race Two

The sprint race grid is:
1. Juri Vips
2. Lirim Zendeli
3. Dan Ticktum
4. Guanyu Zhou
5. Christian Lundgaard
6. Oscar Piastri
7. Robert Shwartzman
8. David Beckmann
9. Jehan Daruvala
10. Liam Lawson
11. Guilherme Samaia
12. Roy Nissany
13. Bent Viscaal
14. Matteo Nannini
15. Marino Sato
16. Felipe Drugovich
17. Gianluca Petecof
18. Alessio Deledda
19. Theo Pourchaire
20. Marcus Armstrong
21. Ralph Boschung
22. Richard Verschoor

Vips and Zendeli fight side by side for the lead of the race, whilst Dan spins out in the front corner due to collision caused by a lockup by Robert Shwartzman. Piastri gets caught up by the spinning Carlin, but manages to continue going. Drugovich is putting pressure on Lawson for track position, but the racing stops as the safety car is deployed. Both Robert and Dan’s races ended there as they wre unable to continue.

Zendeli keeps ahead of Zhou, until along the second straight when the UNI Virtuosi driver passes the MP. Meanwhile Drugovich goes wide off track and into the dirt, though still maintaining momentum forwards. This promotes Lawson and Piastri into 4th and 5th respectively. Petecof moves up to 9th briefly, before losing it to Beckmann, though the Campos driver finally passes him.

Theo Pourchaire begins his sprint back up the grid after an unfortunate but eventful first race of the season. He passes Beckmann for 10th. Passes started occuring through the entire grid, where Vips takes the race lead from Zhou, Piastri passes Lundgaard for 6th and Verschoor moves past Samaia for 16th.

Zhou retakes Vips for the front, whilst Lawson slots into 3rd. Drugovich climbed his way back to 4th past Zendeli. Lundgaard overtakes Piastri down the inside and pushes Piastri wide, putting him in the runoff. Armstrong passes Beckmann, in which Pourchaire tries to take advantage of and passes past both Armstrong and Beckmann for 10th, though loses out to the Kiwi.

Zendeli gets hit in the rear by Lundgaard who was trying to overtake him into the first corner, causing a puncture and later retiring. Lundgaard was then given a 10 second penalty for the contact. Once cleared, the drivers go racing again. Daruvala gets past petecof for 10th and had Pourchaire ahead, thugh was 2 seconds infront.

At the front, Zhou had made a 2 second gap to Vips in second, with Lawson behind two behind the Estonian. Viscaal goes wide to allow Armstorng to get past. This allowed Pourchaire to catch up to the Dutch driver, who was now pressuring him for the position. Lower down, Verschoor passes Boschung for 14th, now attempting to catch to Nannini ahead.

Armstrong finally passes Piastri for 6th, though had a 3 second gap to catch up to Lundgaard, though had a 10 second penalty looming. Drugovich takes the inside line to overtake Lawson, but the Red Bull junior has a better exit tokeep the position from him. Christian Lundgaard decides to overtake both Liam and Felipe, whilst they were both fighting each other. Felipe clips the inside of Lawson, spinning him round before the Kiwi stalls the car, thus triggering the safety car.

Several drivers, including Vips who sat in second, decided to pit for softs during the safety car period, trying to gain an advantage to those who had stayed out.

Come to lap 18 and the race resumes. Zhou defends his lead, whilst Armstrong sees an opporunity to overtake Drugovich. Piastri gets ast Nissany, whilst Lundgaard passes Boschung. Viscaal manages to overtake both Armstrong and Drugovich briefly, before dropping back down to 4th and then 5th after Vips gets past. Bent also lost out to Piastri, dropping him to 5th. Pourchaire and Daruvala have been fighting each other for 9th, but the Indian maintains ahead.

Upon the following lap, Vips pushes his way to 3rd, past Piastri and now was challenging Armstrong for 2nd. Just behind, Piastri passes Armstrong for 3rd. Losers down the grid, Nissany drops two positions to 12th and Sato takes Nannini. Daruvala manages to improve from earlier, now sitting in 7th fighting Drugovich for position.

Felipe had lost out due to tyre degradation, now dropping to 9th after seating near the front for most of the race. The virtual safety car was displayed as Alessio Deledda’s car, but was quickly sorted. Piastri took advantage of the virtual safety car, getting a good restart and was immediately challenging Vips for 2nd. Pourchaire passes Armstrong for 7th and has Verschoor ahead.

Vips’ car was slowing down, dropping him from 2nd to below the top 10, plus was given a 5 second penalty for a virtual safey car infringement. This allowed Lundgaard to advance to try and attack both Zhou and Piastri. Zhou had survived on the same set of tyres, whilst Piastri is on new sets. Oscar manages to pass Zhou, in which Lundgaard follows suit, but could only settle for 2nd as the Australian tries to stick the overtake.

The sprint race results are:
1. Oscar Piastri
2. Christian Lundgaard
3. Guanyu Zhou
4. Jehan Daruvala
5. Richard Verschoor
6. Theo Pourchaire
7. David Beckmann
8. Marino Sato
9. Matteo Nannini
10. Marcus Armstrong
11. Guilherme Samaia
12. Bent Viscaal
13. Gianluca Petecof
14. Felipe Drugovich
15. Roy Nissany
16. Juri Vips
17. Ralph Boschung
18. DNF Liam Lawson
19. DNF Dan Ticktum
20. DNF Robert Shwartzman
21. DNF Lirim Zendeli
22. DNF Alessio Deledda

“I am just riding the high at the minute, second race, first win.” – Oscar Piastri

Feature Race

Lundgaard challegned Zhou for the lead and manages to overtake him for it. Drugovich advances to second, whilst his teammate settles for third. Towards the back end of the grid, Robert Shwartzman was braking into the third corner and locked up. Having the inability to brake fast enough, he hit Roy Nissany, who collected Lirim Zendeli, ending both the Israeli and German’s races. Robert was later given a drive through penalty. Because of the amount of cars on track, the safety car was called to retrieve the stranded Dallara’s.

When the flag goes green on lap four, Piastri was already attacking for fourth from Verschoor. Drugovich manages to overtake Lundgaard for the lead and briefly gets past, until the Dane had the better exit to keep it. Pourchaire manages to climb up to 10th, overtaking Beckmann. Piastri brakes late enough to be able to overtake Zhou, slotting himself into 3rd. Behind, Armstrong gets past Ticktum for 7th and then moves past Verschoor within the folllowing corners. Richard doesn’t back off and tries to retake it in the first corner, but the Kiwi keeps the position.

Juri Vips had climbed up to 13th after starting at the back of the grid due to a disqualification during qualifying. Drugovich and Piastri are fighting each other for 2nd, in which the Aussie overtakes the Brazilian. Behind, Pourchaire is attacking Ticktum for 7th.

Zhou’s performance seemingly started to slow as Armstrong manages to pass him for 4th. Meanwhile, Ticktum attempts to overtake Verschoor, and passes through the inside. Pourchaire seizes this opportunity to overtake and passes Richard as well. The Dutchman had started dropping down the order to 10th, now having to defend from Bent Viscaal.

Oscar Piastri manages to catch Lundgaard and be within DRS range, closing in on the ART driver. Drugovich also claimed the DRS, meaning Christian had to defend from two drivers who had the advantage over him. Piastri attempts the inside line to overtake him and did so. Drugovich is even closer to the front two, forming a train. Meanwhile, Pourchaire and Samaia pit in for their mandatory stop.

Lundgaard, Daruvala and Viscaal all decide to pit at the end of lap 13. This promotes Armstrong to 3rd, who remained not distant to the front two. Drugovich retaliates to this pitstop by going in the following lap, coming out behind Lundgaard.

The rest of the field starts to slowly pit, where Zhou, Ticktum, Boschung and Sato come in. Zhou comes out behind Drugovich, though the Brazilian passes Shwartzman. Petecof goes off track to retire his car as his fire extinguisher went off. Piastri takes this opporunity to pit, along with Lawson during the yellow flag. The virtual safety car was then deployed, in which the Aussie comes out of Lundgaard, gaining track position. The safety car was then brought out, which allowed many drivers to pit. Marcus Armstrong comes out first after overcutting the field. Verschoor did the same strategy, sitting in third.

The restart allowed Armstrong, Piastri and Verschoor to go three wide into the first corner, but the Prema driver manages to go around the outside to take the position. Richard also manages to pass Marcus to second, whilst behind Lundgaard tries to overtake Drugovich. Zhou brakes later than Christian to take 5th from the ART driver, and now had his teammate to get past. Lawson and Ticktum manages to pass him as well for 7th and 8th respectively.

Verschoor takes the lead of the race from Piastri through the first corner by going around the outside. Just behind, Drugovich and Zhou pass Armstrong. Lawson seizes the opportunity to do the same, dropping the Kiwi to 6th. Penalties started rolling out: Juri Vips gets a 5 second for gaining an advantage off track, Lundgaard, Sato and Drugovich gain 5 seconds for safety car infringements, whilst Bent Viscaal gains a 10 second penalty.

Ticktum attempts to make the move on Armstrong through the final corner, but backs out briefly, before making the charge down the main straight. Meanwhile, Zhou passes his teammate for 3rd and was on the charge for Piastri. It only took one lap for the Chinese driver to catch up and pass him with ease, whilst at the same time, Ticktum passes Lawson for 4th.

The ART duo were fighting each other for 9th and 10th, but the French rookie keeps ahead of the Dane for the time being. This allowed Nannini to catch up to the pair, who was now within the rear wing of Christian. Armstrong attempts to take Drugovich down the inside into turn six and passes the Brazilian. It wasn’t stopping there for Felipe as Jehan also takes 7th. Shwartzman moves up to 10th, getting past Nannini, despite the fact he had to take a drive through at the start of the race.

Guanyu Zhou takes the inside line to take first away from Richard. Piastri remained not too far behind to try and overtake the Dutchman for second. Ticktum and Lawson started putting pressure on the Australian, in which the British attempts a move on him in the first corner. He manages to brake in time to make the corner and tries again around the outside, but Piastri keeps third for the time being.

Ticktum and Piastri were fighting side by side and with neither backing out into the corner, Piastri spins round. With him stalling the car, the virtual safety car was called out. The incident itself was considered a racing incident, thus no further action was given.

Verschoor locked up into turn 12, allowing Dan Ticktum to pass through to 2nd. Another lock up into the following corner gave Lawson the opportunity to give himself an advantage on the final lap. He tries to make the move into the first corner, but the MP driver gets the better exit. Through the S section, Lawson had the inside line to take the last podium position from Richard.

The feature race results are:
1. Guanyu Zhou
2. Dan Ticktum
3. Liam Lawson
4. Richard Verschoor
5. Marcus Armstrong
6. Jehan Daruvala
7. Robert Shwartzman
8. Theo Pourchaire
9. Felipe Drugovich
10. Matteo Nannini
11. David Beckmann
12. PENALISED Christian Lundgaard
13. Juri Vips
14. Marino Sato
15. Ralph Boschung
16. Guilherme Samaia
17. Bent Viscaal
18. Lirim Zendeli
19. DNF/COMPLETED 90% Oscar Piastri
20. DNF Gianluca Petecof
21. DNF Alessio Deledda
22. DNF Roy Nissany

“My first Feature Race win and a great comeback from yesterday.” – Guanyu ZHou

We’ll be back on Wednesday for a Race Review, with what we thought of our predictions, highlights, lowlights, underrated drivers and so on. Check on our social medias to see how you can be included in these posts!