Yuki Tsunoda has secured the first victory for Carlin of the 2020 FIA Formula Two Championship following a dramatic final few laps of Sunday’s Sprint Race at Silverstone. The Red Bull Junior started from third on the grid and made tyre management the name of the game from the word go. Biding his time, he sat back and waited for his moment to pounce however, as he started to close in on the race leaders ahead, the pair clashed which Tsunoda was able to capitalise on brilliantly to clinch victory as his own. Teammate Jehan Daruvala was on the back foot after yellow flags in qualifying hampered his performance and left him down the order for the start of Saturday’s race.
The second successive weekend at Silverstone had the Carlin duo pumped for more great racing action. Friday’s qualifying session took place in slightly cooler conditions than the earlier practice which saw scorching temperatures and, as ever, the session was a dramatic 30-minute shoot-out for pole with yellow flags playing their part. Unfortunately, Daruvala was one of those who got caught up in this meaning that the Indian racer was well out of his normal position in 16th. Tsunoda found slightly better luck to ensure he started Saturday’s Feature Race in tenth.
Tyres came in to play on Saturday once again with degradation at the forefront of everyone’s mind. For the Carlin pair, despite making progress, the race was relatively uneventful however yielded points for Tsunoda in sixth and a storming fastest lap of the race for Daruvala – once again highlighting his incredible race pace.
Sunday morning’s partially reversed race saw Tsunoda line up on the second row of the grid with the two Prema Racing cars ahead of him. Knowing how to deal with the Pirelli rubber, Tsunoda was clear on his strategy of calmly racing in the beginning and keeping the duo in his sights; launching well off the line the Japanese driver went about his task. Meanwhile Daruvala had amends to make and was intent on getting himself further up the grid.
With a handful of racing laps remaining Tsunoda started to make his move and begin to close the gap to the race leaders. However there was late drama as the lead duo, Mick Schumacher and Robert Shwartzman, collided leaving them both vulnerable – Tsunoda took advantage of the situation and blasted past them both to clinch the lead of the race as his own. Daruvala pushed hard throughout the entire 21 laps and finished just one agonising position away from a points paying finish in ninth.
Tsunoda said of the race win, “Both Prema cars were fast out there but I knew that I just needed to look after my tyres and push forwards at the end of the race. There was a bit of luck for me at the end so I was able to easily pass for the win but the pace was good regardless. I had a strong car this weekend again, thanks to the team!”