Oscar Piastri, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Prema, 2021

Piastri pulls further away in F2 title race with scintillating Saudi win

Formula 2

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Alpine junior Oscar Piastri has continued his charge towards the Formula 2 title with victory in the second sprint race on the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

Piastri started from third behind Red Bull junior Jehan Daruvala and Bent Viscaal, but after Daruvala pushed Viscaal wide at the exit of turn two on lap one it became a battle between the two drivers affiliated to Formula 1 teams for victory.

Their duel didn’t properly begin through until lap five of 20, as the race was put behind the safety car on the opening lap due to two incidents on the run to turn one. Ralph Boschung cut across Guilherme Samaia and sent him and Alessio Deledda into the barriers on the outside, while Clement Novalak drove into the inside wall before the debutant’s car careened into Marcus Armstrong who had won the first race of the day.

Daruvala built a lead of a second after the restart but kept bringing Piastri back into play by repeatedly locking up into turn one. The lead was then virtually handed to Piastri anyway on lap 12, as Daruvala was given a five-second penalty for cutting across turn one a few laps earlier and keeping himself ahead of Piastri rather than giving up the position.

Piastri then tried going for the lead on-track anyway, attempting a brave move at the high-speed turn 20 before going down the inside of the final corner on lap 14. The DRS was available to Daruvala though down the pit straight and he went straight back past, and it took a few more laps before Piastri tried a move again. On lap 17 he tried the inside line for turn one and managed to make the corner as he forced Daruvala to give him space on the entry.

Daruvala dropped over a second-and-a-half in the space of a lap, and did not get the chance to reclaim it as the race was put behind the safety car again when Hitech’s Liam Lawson spun into the barriers exiting turn 13.

The slowing of the pace severely hurt Daruvala and Alpine junior Christian Lundgaard, who had passed Viscaal for third but had also received a five-second penalty for cutting across to turn two when he made his move, and their pair were dropped down to 14th and 15th in the final classification.

Viscaal therefore inherited second, ahead of Piastri’s team mate Robert Shwartzman, Dan Ticktum and Jack Doohan taking fifth in just his second race in the category. Shwartzman is now 47 points behind Piastri in their battle for the title, with 92 still available to score.

Sauber junior Theo Pourchaire finished an remarkable sixth place, making up 13 positions from his starting spot and passing Enzo Fittipaldi late on. Following Pourchaire’s progress up the order, but not quite as impressively, was future Alfa Romeo F1 driver Guanyu Zhou who went from 17th to eighth to score the final point of the day.

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Formula 2 Saudi Arabia race two results

Position Car Driver
1 2 Oscar Piastri
2 24 Bent Viscaal
3 1 Robert Shwartzman
4 5 Dan Ticktum
5 11 Jack Doohan
6 10 Theo Pourchaire
7 14 Enzo Fittipaldi
8 3 Guanyu Zhou
9 21 Ralph Boschung
10 4 Felipe Drugovich
11 16 Roy Nissany
12 20 Olli Caldwell
13 25 Marino Sato
14 6 Jehan Daruvala
15 9 Christian Lundgaard
DNF 7 Liam Lawson
DNF 8 Juri Vips
DNF 22 Logan Sargeant
DNF 17 Marcus Armstrong
DNF 12 Clement Novalak
DNF 23 Alessio Deledda
DNF 15 Guilherme Samaia

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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 “Piastri pulls further away in F2 title race with scintillating Saudi win”

  1. Very harsh penalty for Daruvala I thought, he didn’t really gain anything and wrecking his tyres should have been punishment enough.

    1. RandomMallard (@)
      4th December 2021, 20:20

      @tflb This is where you start opening doors for inconsistencies if you’re not careful. While I haven’t seen it, it does sound like it was quite harsh (made even harsher by the SC finish) but at the same time he has broken the rules

      1. @randommallard I don’t think he broke any rules in particular. Piastri was not even trying to pass him at the time. He made a mistake, and missed the corner – after the lock-up I don’t think he ever could have made it. But there was no time gain and a great handicap in terms of damaged tyres.

    2. He made a mistake, went off the track and was more ahead of Piastri than before T1. He should have at least eased a bit… check if he has to cede the position… that would be smarter when victory is on the line imho

    3. @tflb Was it any different to what Max did in Mexico 2016? And he got a penalty for that.

  2. Based on these races the runoff areas have been purposedly designed for controversy. All but one overtaking spot have controversy coded in them. There is always going to be someone running wide, crossing the runoff area and getting back in front. I think it is nonsense that they have designed the track this way. I’m expecting controversy in tomorrow’s GP.

  3. Where could Rob Shwartzaman go if he wins the title?
    Will it turn out to be an “I do not want to be a champion” endgame? :)
    Like at our football in Hungary, once the 5th or 6th placement of the top flight of the championsip awarded eligibility to some low tier international cup participation, but financially the participation would have been a loss and the something like 3 teams who had the chance to “achieve” took some funny evasive actions :)

    Although of course an F2 title worths more than that. But still Shwartzman would be in a similar situation like Piastri, or in even worse, as I am not sure that the Russian sponsors would or could pay for a 3rd F2 season for him, if he not wins the title. 3 seasons as a Prema driver must not be cheap. Although Gelael had 2 (but he was from a wealthy background)!

    Imo by now Piastri have shown enough and not necessarily needs the title to become an F1 driver later on, so I am happy with Shwartzman still having a chance to bag the title.

    1. I think Shwartzman already confirmed that he’s leaving F2 at the end of the season.

    2. I think his future also depends on Ferrari, if the Scuderia wants him to drive in F2 one more season because they have plans for him for 2023, they will find a way, if he is still eligible of course.
      Otherwise, I think he better start to look at the US to find a spot there, it would be a pitty to waste so much talent.
      We all know last year the wron Russian driver got “promoted” to F1

  4. Daruvala’s penalty was harsh. He did gain an advantage but Piastri was never really ahead not him. So giving the position back is brainless as he was never passed. Good job by Jehan to hold up Piastri even with wrecked tyres.

    1. I disagree. He held the position precisely by going too deep on the brakes. It does matter that Piastri was ahead of him, he gained an advantage and should have conceded the position.

      1. Edit: “wasn’t” ahead of him.

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