Once again, the Carlin duo were fast out of the blocks during free practice and it was Daruvala who delivered during Friday afternoon’s qualifying session. As one of the last drivers across the line, the Red Bull Junior driver was able to set a storming lap and take second place as his own – setting his position for the Feature Race on Sunday. However, Ticktum was caught up in the on-track melee and set the eighth quickest time, despite comfortably having the pace for a higher position.
Saturday morning’s early opening Sprint Race of the weekend saw the top ten qualifiers reversed, which meant Ticktum would line up from third – aiming to put right the disappointment of the previous day. However, the drama for the British racer would come in the early stages when he was caught and spun around at the first corner. As the field raced past him, Ticktum was stranded on track and eventually retired. Daruvala enjoyed a far less eventful race and took the flag in ninth place which ensured that he started race two of the weekend from second on the grid.
Just a few short hours later and the second Sprint Race was underway in Italy with Daruvala getting a fantastic start and breezing into the lead of the race – from there it was a relatively uneventful race as he drove in clear air and began to pull a gap. Ticktum meanwhile started the race from the back of the grid following his earlier retirement and began to put on a show to work his way up the grid – moving up to 11thas the flag fell. Daruvala meanwhile had encountered no issues or challenges at the front and took an easy victory with six seconds to his advantage – his first of the 2021 season.
Daruvala said after his victory, “Really happy to get victory today in Sprint Race two; we have been competitive all weekend and I’m glad we could convert our pace into a victory. I had a good start and after I took the lead, I just pushed to break DRS, once I had a gap I was just managing it and staying in control. The car was fantastic and hopefully we can repeat the same tomorrow.”
A gamble awaited Ticktum for the Feature Race on Sunday morning as he started on the hard tyre compound while those around him started on the softer tyre. Daruvala on the harder tyre, lost out off the line as the lights went out and dropped back in the early stages as Ticktum held on to his position while running on the slower of the tyre compounds. However bad luck would swing when a safety car came out allowing the soft tyre runners to effectively gain a free pit stop to change tyres. Daruvala was one of these to benefit as he made the switch.
Ticktum remained out and led the race behind the safety car knowing that when racing resumed, he needed to pull a gap and hope for a late race safety car for the race to fall in to his hands. Incredibly, a second safety car came out on track which enabled the speedy Britto pit for his soft tyres knowing that he would have the pace advantage to allow him to carve his way through the field. Sure enough, Ticktum delivered and was soon pulling off incredible manoeuvres on those around him – making his way up to third (from 11th) in just a few short laps. However, despite looking likely to challenge for the lead of the race in the final few laps, his progress was halted when a third and final safety car brought an end to the race.
Dan took the flag in formation in third and Daruvala fifth; both drivers contributing an incredible tally of points to the overall team standings in which Carlin sit third overall.
Ticktum said of his podium, “Friday and Saturday didn’t really go my way at all. During that first safety car [in the Feature Race] I thought things were going to be really difficult going forward. But thankfully my luck turned around with the safety car at the end and then I was able to deliver in a strong car to get a good result after a tough weekend.