Jehan Daruvala bags podium at the F2 Azerbaijan Grand Prix
Formula 2 is back with round number six of the season as Jehaan Daruvala finished on podium at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Following three successive safety cars, Daruvala finished second after dominating most of the race.
Jehaan finished eighth in qualifying on Friday. The Baku Sprint grid was formed by reversing the top ten finishers from qualifying, resulting in Daruvala in third place. Jake Hughes took pole for the sprint ahead of Vesti. Logan Sargean in second would then share the row with Daruvala, while championship leader Felipe Drugovich starts sixth behind Richard Verschoor.
The 23-year-old from Mumbai got out to a flying start, passing both Hughes and Vesti to take the lead into turn one. He was able to build up a significant lead in the early laps, putting a second and a half between himself and Hughes by the fourth lap. This gap was recovered by the rest after Daruvala’s Prema teammate Dennis Hauger locked up and ended up in the wall, prompting the first of a total of three safety cars during the race.
Having led for the majority of the race and two brilliant restarts, Daruvala was overtaken by Vesti with only three laps remaining after briefly locking up his wheels at the third restart. Daruvala held off Liam Lawson, and finished 2nd, just shy of 0.300s from Vesti’s finishing time.
“This one hurts, but it's still a P2 finish. I had an awesome start to get into the lead and then just managed the race from there until the safety cars. The car was great all race, but a small lockup on the restart cost us the win today. On to tomorrow, " Daruvala acknowledged post race on his Instagram page.
The Red Bull-backed driver will start lower on the grid after qualifying eighth on Friday for tomorrow's feature race. After scoring 8 points today, he is still third in the rankings with 61 points, 56 behind current championship leader Felipe Drugovich and 22 behind Theo Pourchaire. With 25 points on the line for the winner of the feature and 1 point for the quickest lap, it will be exciting to see what happens in Baku before the big boys step in.