Thrilling Battle with Schumacher
Indian racing star – Jehan Daruvala, who has brought great pride to the community with his national and global achievements, earned his maiden FIA Formula 2 podium at the Bahrain Grand Prix Support Race, on 28th November, 2020. The Red Bull Racing Junior is the first Indian to stand on the podium in an FIA Formula 2 Race, in the current iteration of the championship.
The F2 season moved to Sakhir, Bahrain for the last 2 rounds of the F2 championship, and Jehan immediately showed his pace in the only practice session. In the last fifteen minutes, Jehan posted a lap time of 1:42.782 to go fastest. With just 5 minutes left, Nikita Mazepin of Russia, went faster by a mere 0.122.
Qualifying threatened to completely undo all of Jehan’s efforts. He faced traffic on his quick laps, which allowed him to post a time, only quick enough for eighth on the grid, 2 places ahead of Championship leader, Mick Schumacher. Callum Ilott of Great Britain earned another pole position.
The 22-year-old Indian Zorastrian emerged from the pits down in 18th place but reeled of a series of quick laps to climb up the order. He gained more positions as others pitted and was running sixth by lap 19 of the 32-lap race. Jehan soon overtook multiple race winner, Robert Shwartzman to move up to fifth.
What eventually led to a nail-biting few laps, Jehan, without the option of DRS and a tyre disadvantage, drove one of his best races of the season. With 3 laps to go, he had to defend aggressively into the first corner, both drivers were side by side for a few corners but Jehan was not giving up in spite of his disadvantage. He held his nerve and placed his Carlin car in exactly the right places, preventing Schumacher from getting ahead.
2 laps before the end of the race, Schumacher momentarily got ahead of Jehan, but Jehan was not going to allow that and he braked late, to get the position back. Jehan’s excellent racing caused Schumacher to make a couple of mistakes. This allowed Jehan room to breathe. He continued his intelligent drive to increase the gap and crossed the line 0.894 seconds ahead of Schumacher, to earn a really well deserved third place. Brazilian Felipe Drugovich won the race ahead of Callum Ilott.
Jehan was the 2nd runner up in the FIA Formula 3 Championship last year. He earns his maiden FIA Formula 2 podium, in his first season in the ultra-competitive championship, which has seen fifteen other racers stand on the podium! Jehan’s achievement is also the first podium, by an Indian in the current iteration of the FIA Formula 2 Championship. Here’s wishing Jehan the very best to continue and better his wins in future races, and bring even more pride to the nation and the community!
Picture credits – James Gasperotti