Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: Jehan Daruvala commenced his campaign for the Formula 2 title with a second-placed finish in the Sprint race of the championship’s first round in Sakhir, Bahrain.
The 23-year-old from Mumbai, had started fourth after qualifying seventh under the championship’s reverse grid rules.
The Indian had a good start. He was up to third straight away and, after fending off fellow Red Bull junior Liam Lawson in the Carlin, he set about in pursuit of second-placed Ralph Boschung.
The safety car was deployed on lap 3 to clear away the stranded Hitech of Marcus Armstrong.
It bunched up the field but Jehan, who took his first F2 win in Bahrain in 2020, held position, once again prevailing in a wheel-to-wheel battle with Lawson.
He caught and passed Boschung on Lap 16 just before the race was interrupted for the second time by a Virtual Safety Car.
Boschung retook second as the race resumed. But Jehan seized the place back on the 18th lap with a bold move around the outside of the Swiss racer into the right-handed turn 4.
He crossed the line less than two seconds behind Verschoor.
“We definitely have a lot of positives to take. Finishing second in the first race of the year is a good start. I think we had the pace to fight for the win.” Jehan said after the race
“Unfortunately, I mistimed the Virtual Safety Car restart which lost us a lot of time and eventually cost us the win. But overall we have a really good car and I’m quite pleased with our start to the season.”he added
This season is Jehan’s third in Formula 2, the feeder-series that sits below F1 on the single-seater ladder.
Jehan, who finished third in the Formula 3 standings while racing for Prema in 2019, is eyeing a step up to F1 in 2023, which would make him only the third Indian to compete in motorsport’s top tier.