Jack Doohan’s debut for Virtuosi Racing got off to a great start in Sakhir as the took the team’s fourth successive Round 1 pole in Formula 2, and despite ending the weekend with just three points to show for his efforts, the Australian said there were plenty of positives.
After beating Théo Pourchaire to pole by more than a tenth, Doohan struggled with tyre degradation in the Sprint Race and lost the final points position to Ayumu Iwasa on the penultimate lap.
The Alpine junior then lost P1 to Jüri Vips off the line in the Feature Race before being taken out of contention following contact with Pourchaire on his return from the pits. The coming together – which was ruled to be a racing incident – forced Doohan into a front wing change and left him battling back from last place.
“I’d envisaged that lap for a couple of weeks,” said Doohan on his pole-winning lap in Qualifying. “I knew I had the car and the team around me to do it and luckily, we did.
On the Feature Race, Doohan added: “I was pleased with that first stint in the Feature Race for sure. I think it was decent because we had been struggling on the prime compound. I was happy to get that sorted and apart from Jüri (Vips), who had really strong pace, we were as quick as anyone.
“After we boxed and I lost the nose on the pit exit, we went back to the Prime to try and wait for a late Safety Car. Our pace on the Prime was just as quick as those on the Option, so I think we might have found something there, which is another positive.”
Doohan recovered to 10th after the incident with Pourchaire and believes he could have claimed what would have been an unlikely podium if the timing of the Safety Car had worked out better.
“If the safety car had ended one lap earlier, or if we’d had two more laps at the end of the race, I think we could have even had a shot at a podium, maybe, because we had such a big advantage with new Options.
“In the end, it’s a point and it is what it is. I’m sure we can bounce back - we've got at least 12 rounds to go. Jeddah is in less than a week and I’m sure that we can keep the performance at the same level and try and get the job done there.”