Zhou passes Verschoor for win in action-packed F2 feature race

Formula 2

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Virtuosi’s Guanyu Zhou won Formula 2’s Bahrain feature race from pole position, but was made to work hard for it by several of his rivals.

However Zhou had to fight back after being passed by fellow Alpine junior Christian Lundgaard for the lead at the start of the race. He lost another position to his Virtuosi team mate Felipe Drugovich too before the Safety Car interrupted proceedings after Prema’s Robert Shwartzman skated into DAMS’ Roy Nissany on the sandy track surface.

Drugovich passed ART driver Lundgaard after the restart, with Prema’s Oscar Piastri clearing MP’s Richard Verschoor and then Zhou for third place. As Zhou was on the slower hard compound tyre, he didn’t put up too strong a fight against with the drivers around him, knowing he would have the faster soft tyre later in the race.

The pole winner had sunk to fifth by the time he pitted for softs. He emerged in ninth, but a net third among those who had already taken their compulsory stops. The other two ahead had started on softs, and didn’t have the pace to rival Zhou in the second stint of the race.

More victory contenders appeared, however, DAMS’ Marcus Armstrong and early struggler Verschoor were handed a break when the Safety Car reappeared, allowing them to pit from first and second place and remain at the front. The latest interruption was caused by the fire extinguisher going off in Gianluca Petecof’s Campos car.

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Piastri and Verschoor passed Armstrong at the restart, and the flying Verschoor then passed Piastri for the lead. He immediately pulled away, but the strategy advantage that Zhou and Carlin’s Dan Ticktum had started to come into play in the closing laps and they closed on the top three.

Zhou lost his lead from pole – but got it back
Armstrong sank down the order as Zhou moved into third, and after several laps he cleared Piastri too. Verschoor defended hard once Zhou closed up to him, but it was to no avail.

As Zhou moved back into the lead, Ticktum had drew within range of third-placed Piastri. Their battle got too close, however, and they collided at turn two with two laps to go, Piastri stalling. That led to a Virtual Safety Car period which temporarily neutralised the action.

In the final lap-and-a-half sprint to the flag, Ticktum and Hitech’s Liam Lawson also demoted Verschoor, but there was no beating Zhou. It was a tough end to the race for Verschoor, who is not set to return to the series having only signed a one-round deal with MP.

Armstrong finished a distant fifth after fighting with Carlin’s Jehan Daruvala, while Shwartzman overcame a drive-through penalty for his early crash to also benefit from the safety car period and charge from the back to seventh.

ART rookie Theo Pourchaire came eighth ahead of Drugovich, who faded late on, and HWA’s Matteo Nannini did well to stay with the cars ahead to finish 10th and claim the final point.

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Bahrain race three result

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

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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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2 comments on “Zhou passes Verschoor for win in action-packed F2 feature race”

  1. Good racing once again.

  2. Starting F2 off with a bang. Now I’m waiting for F3.

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