Carlin signed off the start of the 2021 FIA Formula Two season in style with two trips to the podium and the lead of the championship after a strong weekend in Bahrain. Jehan Daruvala and Dan Ticktum enjoyed solid showings as they both graced the podium over the course of the three races on offer this weekend.
A new format for the 2021 season meant that qualifying on Friday evening would establish two separate grids over the course of the weekend. The outright times would, as ever, set the Feature Race positions while the top ten reversed from this would see the opening Sprint Race of the weekend determined. With double the pressure, Daruvala and Ticktum pushed hard throughout the 30-minute session and secured solid starting positions for both races.
The opening Sprint Race of the weekend was a tale of opposing luck for the Carlin drivers. On the opening lap, Ticktum tried a move down the inside at turn one however it didn’t quite come to fruition and the British racer tapped MP Motorsport driver Richard Verschoor in the process. Ticktum was handed a five-second penalty for the incident which was added to his overall race time meaning he dropped down to eighth as he took the flag.
Daruvala meanwhile was having a storming race through the field. The Indian racer, who won the last time Formula Two was in Bahrain, began to carve his way up the order and was soon in the hunt for the lead of the race. Fantastic moves had already brought him up into a podium position and, with his tyres holding on well during the final stages, Daruvala was soon right up behind race leader Liam Lawson. Despite looming in his mirrors, Lawson held him off until the end and Daruvala took the flag in a great second position.
Race two, saw the top ten finishers from the opening race reversed and it was once again drama for Ticktum who found himself out of the race at turn one. Daruvala went on another points hunting mission and moved up to fourth place as the flag fell.
The final race of the weekend, the longer Feature Race with more points on offer, had both Carlin drivers launching off the line well. However, the excitement for the pair didn’t come until after the mandatory pit stop when Ticktum started to make his move. The Carlin man had looked after his Pirelli tyres brilliantly and battled his way up to a podium slot. In a tense final lap showdown Ticktum came close to stealing the win from Guanyu Zhou however took second on the line. Daruvala meanwhile pushed well throughout and took strong points for sixth.
The fantastic podiums from both Carlin drivers ensure that the team leave the opening round of the season in the lead of the 2021 championship.
Daruvala said, “Well that’s round one finished in Bahrain. There are places I could have improved, and I had a big flat spot in the Feature Race so I couldn’t maximise the points but to be right at the front in all three races shows that we have made a good start and hopefully I can continue this. To kick off the season with solid points in the bag and leading the teams’ championship is great.”
Ticktum added, “It was an eventful weekend from start to finish! The pace in qualifying was pretty good but then Saturday was full of drama. It was my mistake in the first race but then in race two there was nothing I could do. Sunday’s Race somewhat made up for it. The car was great, we had a slightly slow pit stop but overall, I did some great moves which I really enjoyed. I’m happy to have a strong package and I feel confident which is a nice feeling.”
The second round of the season takes place in May around the streets of Monte Carlo.