Red Bull junior Lawson wins on F2 debut in Bahrain

Formula 2

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Hitech’s Liam Lawson won on his Formula 2 debut at the Bahrain International Circuit in the first race of the season.

The grid was set by reversing the top 10 from yesterday’s qualifying session, and left ART’s Theo Pourchaire and Charouz’s David Beckmann on the front row.

However Lawson immediately raced into the lead from third, as Pourchaire bogged down and had to spend much of the opening lap trying to defend second place from Beckmann.

Lawson pulled away by several tenths of a second per lap, even as a Virtual Safety Car period was brought in after Marcus Armstrong lost drive and was unwillingly rear-ended by Ralph Boschung, leaving the DAMS and Campos cars stopped on track.

With most of the front-runners starting on Pirelli’s hard compound tyre, and unwilling to have to make a pit stop in the race to switch to the faster softs that would be better saved for later in the weekend, drivers began managing their tyres early on. The second-year drivers’ greater experience on the 18-inch rubber helped bring them into play further into the 23-lap race.

Carlin’s Jehan Daruvala pressured Beckmann into a lock-up and then set up a brilliant around-the-outside pass at turn four to move into third. But he was unwilling to then push for second place straight away, saving his tyres. That position became his anyway, as Pourchaire’s car slowed to a halt at the halfway point of the race.

His experience of the tyres from 2020 enabled him to close in on Lawson, but once he got to the rear of his fellow Red Bull junior his car started to overheat and he couldn’t pass him, coming just short of a second F2 win in a row.

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Beckmann finished a distant third. Robert Shwartzman made a superb run to fourth after starting outside the top 10. He was up to fifth by the end of lap one, outwitting drivers around him under braking. His move on new Prema team mate Oscar Piastri allowed ART’s Christian Lundgaard past the reigning Formula 3 champion too.

Piastri stuck with Lundgaard, while Shwartzman raced up the road for fourth, but came under pressure from Carlin’s Dan Ticktum. Once Ticktum was getting uncomfortably close, Piastri decided to dart down the inside of Lundgaard at turn four and return to following his team mate.

The battle with Ticktum hadn’t been for position, as the Williams junior had a five-second penalty hanging over him from spinning MP’s Richard Verschoor early on, and eventually he started struggling with his tyres too and fell back. The penalty dropped him down to eighth behind Virtuosi Racing’s Guanyu Zhou, with MP’s Lirim Zendeli and Hitech’s Juri Vips rounding out the top 10 after Charouz’s Guilherme Samaia was penalised for a VSC infringement. Vips gets pole for the second sprint race, where the grid is set by race one’s results partially reversed.

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Formula 2 Bahrain race one results

Position Driver
1 Liam Lawson
2 Jehan Daruvala
3 David Beckmann
4 Robert Shwartzman
5 Oscar Piastri
6 Christian Lundgaard
7 Guanyu Zhou
8 Dan Ticktum
9 Lirim Zendeli
10 Juri Vips
11 Bent Viscaal
12 Guilherme Samaia
13 Roy Nissany
14 Matteo Nannini
15 Marino Sato
16 Felipe Drugovich
17 Gianluca Petecof
18 Alessio Deledda
19 Theo Pourchaire
20 Marcus Armstrong
21 Ralph Boschung
22 Richard Verschoor

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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12 comments on “Red Bull junior Lawson wins on F2 debut in Bahrain”

  1. Nice report Elliot, but I’d have liked to see a mention of the fact that Vips finished 10th after starting last, having lost his P5 position in quali due to a minor technical infringement on his car.

    1. Is it just me or are there a lot more technical infringements in F2 vs F1?

  2. I hope there will be a strong three way fight between the red bull juniors for that maybe alpha tauri seat.

  3. Dave (@davewillisporter)
    27th March 2021, 11:44

    Check out Lawson’s sponsor Rodin Cars. Very interesting company. They’ve got some videos on You Tube.

  4. Happy Helmut Marko noises.

  5. Despite being British, I still would have thought I’d have gotten used to ‘David Beckmann’ by now, but no, it still looks odd to me. He was born in 2000 (this one, not that one), so presumably his parents knew what they were doing.

    1. @bernasaurus I don’t get it. Care to elaborate?

      1. @d0senbrot David Beckham, one of the most distinguished English footballers of the 1990s and 2000s.

        1. @wsrgo Haha, OK. As a native german speaker it’s not quite as obvious. “A” is pronounced like in “fast”, in both cases.

          1. @d0senbrot thank you, obviously as a non-german speaker, I didn’t realise, perhaps his parents didn’t know then. It just looks odd if you’re very familiar with ‘David Beckham’.

  6. Shwartzman has been quite disappointing. I thought this would be the year he would take a step up and go on to win the title comfortably, before replacing Giovinazzi at Alfa Romeo.

  7. The reverse grid from qualifying results for the first sprint race is so bizarre. Both races were extremely chaotic due to the grid reversals.

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