Ollie Bearman completed a Formula 2 clean sweep with his feature race victory in Baku, but it wasn’t as straightforward as it might have seemed.
The Prema driver suffered from his car bottoming out in the early stages of the race, and lost first place to ART Grand Prix’s Theo Pourchaire at turn one on lap three of 29.
However, the Ferrari Driver Academy ace stayed on his rival’s tail and reclaimed the lead one lap later at the same place.
“Especially on the early laps when the tyre pressures were low, the car is touching a lot in the straight. It was really holding me back,” he explained.
“I couldn’t really see how fast Theo was catching, but I knew he was going to be close and he was really strong on the brakes, especially at the start of the race.
“He went for it. I followed him for a lap and he was pushing a lot more than me at that stage of the race. So I picked up my pace a bit, got him back and from there I knew what to do. I managed to break the DRS and finish the stint.”
Asked whether he would have had his race compromised staying longer behind Pourchaire, Bearman reckoned that his super-soft tyres would have suffered more as a result, but his pace would have allowed him to get back ahead of the Sauber junior later in the race.
“At the stage he overtook me, I didn’t really want to sit behind. Especially on the super-soft tyre, it’s better to be in clean air to do your stint. So I decided that I wanted to pass them straight away.
“To be honest, if I didn’t, it wouldn’t have been the end of the world. We knew we were going to be fast on the prime tyre, but overtaking him back put me in a good position to have a clean stint.
“It was crucial, but I don’t think it was a deciding point of the race,” he told Formula Scout.