Bahrain F2: Pourchaire wins chaotic feature race from Lawson

Theo Pourchaire took his third FIA Formula 2 victory in Bahrain after a characteristically chaotic race featuring two safety cars. 

Theo Pourchaire, ART Grand Prix, Liam Lawson, Carlin, Calan Williams, Trident

The French driver, who became the youngest-ever F2 race winner in Monaco last season, took the lead for ART Grand Prix after both Juri Vips (Hitech Grand Prix) and polesitter Jack Doohan (Virtuosi) were struck by issues. 

Vips suffered a catastrophic pitstop when swapping to the softs, dropping him back to P12, leaving Doohan in the net lead before he made contact with Pourchaire upon exiting the pits, damaging his front wing and forcing him to pit again. 

Vips eventually made it back up to the podium places, finishing P3, with Liam Lawson in second for Carlin taking his second podium of the weekend. 

Polesitter Doohan’s race went from bad to worse, with a third pitstop coming shortly after his front wing change, leaving him to finish in P10. 

Poor pitstops were a consistent theme of the race, with both Dennis Hauger (Prema Racing) and Calan Williams (Trident) having their races ended after losing tyres during their pitstops. 

Doohan and Pourchaire both struggled off the line, with second-row starter Vips and Ralph Boschung, who started in P5 for Campos Racing, immediately overtaking them into P1 and P2. 

The polesitter and Lawson tussled into Turn 2 after the Kiwi had a great jump off the line, but Doohan held third place, with Pourchaire taking advantage to slot into P4 ahead of Lawson in fifth. 

The safety car was deployed after Frederik Vesti was sent spinning at Turn 1 amid the start chaos having started P19, leaving the Mercedes junior stranded out on track in his ART-run car and ending his race. 

Once racing restarted, Doohan and Lawson tussled at Turn 1, with the Australian defending P3 and allowing Pourchaire to move back up into P4, with Lawson in P5. 

Vips’ pitstop proved a turning point in the race, with struggles on his front left and his car being dropped off the jack costing him 10 seconds, allowing Doohan to take the lead before chaos ensued for the Australian. 

Ayumu Iwasa, who started the race last, was briefly in the lead for DAMS as the only driver not to have stopped by Lap 17, despite starting on soft tyres. He finally stopped two laps later, dropping to P8. He went on to finish P16 after a late pitstop with an issue. 

Despite his setback, Vips made a charge back through the field, making his way up to P3 by lap 25, having passed Felipe Drugovich (MP Motorsport) to take the final podium spot. 

The safety car came out again on Lap 28 after Richard Verschoor’s Trident-run car was spun by Enzo Fittipaldi (Charouz Racing System) in the battle for 10th, an incident which will be investigated after the race. 

It was during that period that Hauger and Williams’ races were ended, prompting the closure of the pitlane. 

Despite a restart with two laps to go, Pourchaire hung onto the lead, keeping Lawson and Vips behind him for his first victory of the season. 

F2 returns next weekend in Saudi Arabia. 

Bahrain F2 - Feature race results:

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