The sixth season of Formula 2 roared into action last weekend in Sakhir, and it was two second-year drivers – ART Grand Prix’s Théo Pourchaire and Carlin’s Liam Lawson - who took an early lead of the standings. The pair left the Bahrain International Circuit separated by a single point.


As the highest placed returning driver, Théo Pourchaire unsurprisingly entered the season as a favourite for the title and the French ART Grand Prix racer didn’t disappoint in the opening round, taking his third win at this level to put himself at the top of the leaderboard with 25 points.

Another heavily favoured driver heading into the season was Liam Lawson and the New Zealander finished on the podium in both races to give himself 24 points overall. Taking close to maximum points in both races, early signs indicate that Lawson may have found the consistency he needs for a title challenge.

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Logan Sargeant is the highest placed rookie as things stand (eighth), with the Carlin racer notching two top 10 finishes to tally up nine points in Sakhir. Lawson and Sargeant’s strong starts give Carlin the lead in the Team’s Championship, with the team on 33 points, five more than Hitech Grand Prix.

Fellow rookie Jack Doohan will feel frustrated to have not taken more points himself, having started the weekend off on pole. The Virtuosi driver took just one more point in Bahrain, as he failed to make the top 10 in the Sprint Race and finished 10th in the Feature Race following a collision with Pourchaire.

Marcus Armstrong (Sprint Race 1) and Oscar Piastri (Sprint Race 2 and Feature Race) were the winners on F2’s first visit to Jeddah in 2021. Piastri also set the lap record for F2 in Jeddah, with a 1:40.878 in Qualifying.


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“I really do like the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, completely irrespective of my results last year I did enjoy it. I think after the Free Practice last year everybody was raving about how cool the track was, myself included. I really enjoyed the flow of the circuit and also the risk and reward nature of the track. There was a lot of grip, for whatever reason that tarmac provides a lot of grip so I also enjoy that.

“I would say the first sector is very fast and flowing and even though I wasn't very strong there last year, I enjoyed it anyway which is unusual. Usually, you like the things you're good at and I was not particularly good at it, but I still really enjoyed it. Turn 22 is the corner where basically everyone crashed in F1, and I thought that corner was cool because you can either win a tenth or put it in the wall. It's very my style of corner, it's all or nothing.

“There was a lot of tyre degradation last year but then again, I was leading, and I think it's way easier to manage tyres when you're leading so for me, it was just like a cruise.

“I think the best overtaking opportunity is the last corner, the first corner and maybe the Safety Car restart. I think if you put the guy in front under pressure it's a difficult track to do a good job on. Putting a guy under pressure in Saudi is different to putting a guy under pressure at the Red Bull Ring, for example. The mistakes can be a lot higher.”

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Virtuosi Racing rookie Jack Doohan took the first pole position of the year in emphatic style, opting to run in the gap and take advantage of a clear track to set a 1:40.542 in Qualifying. Pourchaire and Hitech Grand Prix’s Jüri Vips both tried to beat the Australian driver’s efforts in the final stint of the session but were forced to settle for P2 and P3, respectively.

Saturday saw Richard Verschoor take Trident to their first-ever win in F2, with a calm and confident drive under the lights of the Bahrain International Circuit. Jehan Daruvala crossed the line second after seeing off a challenge from Ralph Boschung, who dropped out of podium contention in the late stages of the race. Lawson snatched the final podium position to finish third.

Pourchaire won a frenzied Feature Race on Sunday afternoon. The Frenchman beat out Lawson, who drove his Carlin from sixth on the grid to the second step of the podium and Vips, who dropped from 1st to 12th after a slow pitstop but fought his way back to third at the flag.

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The second round of the season will see F2 use Pirelli’s Medium and soft compounds.

Mario Isola, Pirelli Motorsport Director

“The Formula 2 season, which started in Bahrain, continues in Jeddah where the P Zero Yellow medium and P Zero Red soft compounds are nominated. This is a step harder than the supersoft, which was the softest option last year. The reasons for this choice are multiple: first of all, the soft will present a different challenge for drivers, giving additional flexibility in terms of strategy.

“Secondly, new rules prohibit refuelling during qualifying this year so the cars will now be heavier at the start of the session: the soft will offer more versatility across different fuel loads and encourage diverse approaches to strategy. Last but not least, the soft also has a longer range in the race than the supersoft, delivering its performance for more laps. Each driver will have five sets of tyres (three medium and two soft) to use across the weekend.”

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  • Théo Pourchaire added a third victory to his tally, after winning the Feature Race in Sakhir. The Frenchman is now level with Felipe Drugovich for the most of wins on this year’s grid.
  • Trident claimed their first-ever win in the second tier in Sakhir, after Richard Verschoor’s victory in Saturday’s Sprint Race.
  • Logan Sargeant is the highest placed rookie in the Championship standings after Round 1, having picked up two points finishes in the opening weekend.
  • Jack Doohan claimed his maiden pole position in Sakhir, going more than 2 seconds quicker than Guanyu Zhou’s pole lap in 2021.
  • Four drivers have previously stood on the podium in Jeddah: Marcus Armstrong, Liam Lawson, Jüri Vips and Ralph Boschung all picked up trophies at the Corniche Circuit last year.
  • At 6.174 KM the Jeddah Corniche Circuit is the second-longest track on the calendar, shorter only than Spa-Francorchamps.
  • The Formula 2 race lap record at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit is 1:40.878, set by Oscar Piastri with PREMA Racing in 2021.
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