Bahrain F2: Schumacher clinches title as Daruvala claims maiden win

Mick Schumacher wrapped up the FIA Formula 2 Championship in a spellbinding series finale on the Bahrain International Circuit's outer loop that was won by Jehan Daruvala

Bahrain F2: Schumacher clinches title as Daruvala claims maiden win

Schumacher and title rival Callum Ilott played their part in the thriller, but each finished outside the points, meaning that the future Haas Formula 1 driver held onto his 14-point pre-race advantage.

DAMS-run Williams protege Dan Ticktum led from reversed-grid pole, while a trademark Schumacher fast start got the Prema Racing machine up from third to second as he passed the Carlin car of Red Bull Junior Daruvala.

But Schumacher locked up massively while defending from Daruvala at Turn 4, allowing Daruvala back ahead.

The German shrugged off his flat-spot by sweeping spectacularly around the outside of Daruvala at the Turn 6 right-hander to regain second on lap four, but four tours later Daruvala retrieved the position around the outside of Turn 4.

A brief virtual safety car for debris put the top seven in a train and, while Daruvala tried to pass Ticktum for the lead, it soon became apparent that Schumacher was struggling.

Ilott's Virtuosi Racing car was in fourth place, and was all over Schumacher.

On one occasion, an attempt by Ilott to pass succeeded only in allowing Schumacher's Prema team-mate Robert Shwartzman ahead, before Schumacher locked up again at Turn 4, delayed Shwartzman and gave Ilott the opportunity to regain fourth place.

On the following lap Ilott finally passed Schumacher at Turn 4, and that opened the door for Shwartzman and Guanyu Zhou to get in front too, before Schumacher dived for the pits and a set of soft tyres with 15 laps remaining.

With Schumacher now likely to not score points, Ilott needed victory to grab the championship, and his gap to second-placed Daruvala was 3.5 seconds.

Ilott briefly chipped away at the gap, and for a short time it looked as though a dramatic title grab was possible, but soon it was clear that Ilott was struggling for grip, his tyres potentially having wilted from the long pursuit of Schumacher.

With nine laps to go, Daruvala finally found a way past Ticktum into the final turn, and immediately after this Ilott began to lose places, eventually fading to 10th.

With the title fight effectively over, attention turned to Saturday winner Yuki Tsunoda.

The Carlin-run AlphaTauri F1 shoo-in had dropped out of the top 10 on the opening lap from eighth on the grid, but soon began a spectacular drive up the order.

He passed the stricken Ilott for third with eight laps remaining, and set off after Ticktum.

The duo were together by the penultimate lap, and a determined Ticktum gave Tsunoda a terrific fight.

It was settled at the final corner of the race, where Ticktum locked up, allowing Tsunoda to scamper past to complete a Carlin 1-2.

Zhou brought his Virtuosi car home fourth from Shwartzman, while Giuliano Alesi (MP Motorsport) had one of his best F2 drives to claim sixth.

Luca Ghiotto (Hitech Grand Prix) and Felipe Drugovich (MP), claimed the final points positions, Drugovich recovering from being forced off track in a battle with Marcus Armstrong for which the ART man was given a five-second penalty.

F2 Bahrain sprint race results - 34 laps

Pos Driver Team Gap
1 Jehan Daruvala Carlin 37m26.570s
2 Yuki Tsunoda Carlin 3.561s
3 Dan Ticktum DAMS 3.902s
4 Guanyu Zhou UNI-Virtuosi 5.615s
5 Robert Shwartzman Prema Racing 7.585s
6 Giuliano Alesi MP Motorsport 9.040s
7 Luca Ghiotto Hitech Grand Prix 11.093s
8 Felipe Drugovich MP Motorsport 13.878s
9 Nikita Mazepin Hitech Grand Prix 14.536s
10 Callum Ilott UNI-Virtuosi 16.023s
11 Pedro Piquet Charouz Racing System 16.157s
12 Christian Lundgaard ART Grand Prix 17.051s
13 Louis Deletraz Charouz Racing System 20.176s
14 Marcus Armstrong ART Grand Prix 21.844s
15 Roy Nissany Trident 23.639s
16 Marino Sato Trident 26.089s
17 Sean Gelael DAMS 26.759s
18 Mick Schumacher Prema Racing 28.529s
19 Guilherme Samaia Campos Racing 35.936s
20 Artem Markelov BWT HWA RACELAB 59.769s
21 Theo Pourchaire BWT HWA RACELAB 1 Lap
- Ralph Boschung Campos Racing Retirement

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Author Marcus Simmons
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