Home Featured How two F2 rookies lost out on a feature race win, and their rivals’ reaction

How two F2 rookies lost out on a feature race win, and their rivals’ reaction

by Alejandro Alonso Lopez

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Two of Formula 2’s rookies threw away potential maiden wins in the Jeddah feature race with mistakes that rivals said they avoided doing themselves due to being more experienced.

Prema’s Ollie Bearman qualified second and led the race’s early stages, and was the leading driver to have pitted until four laps into his second stint when he passed by team-mate Frederik Vesti and ART Grand Prix’s poleman Victor Martins.

The pair pulled away and five laps later Bearman spun at Turn 22, a corner he had previously gone off at. The rookie told Formula Scout the reason why he lost the control of his car.

“The Turn 22 spin was my mistake. It’s very bumpy on entry there and the car snapped on me,” said Bearman.

“It wasn’t really pressure-related; my gap behind was stable at that point in the race, but for sure more laps in the sprint race [which he was hit out of] would’ve helped me to understand the different approach needed in that corner for races compared to qualifying. Afterwards my tyres were pretty damaged, quite bad flatspots and vibrations.”

The reprofiling of the corner for 2023 helped Bearman avoid the barriers, and he rejoined having lost only three places. He went on to score his first point in F2 by finishing 10th.

A lap later Martins spun out of the virtual lead (as the leading driver to have pitted) at Turn 4, with his car’s rear hitting the outside wall of Turn 5. He got it started again, but only briefly, and retired.

Vesti went on to win ahead of fellow sophomore Jack Doohan and and fourth-year F2 driver Jehan Daruvala, who had their say on the rookies’ errors post-race.

“I think the experience speaks for itself,” said Virtuosi Racing’s Doohan. “I wasn’t pressuring Ollie as much as I would have liked to, but maybe he was pushing more than I thought.

“Fredrik was pushing Victor, and in a crucial moment where you’re in the feature race for big points, they both made mistakes. And luckily, I think, stayed out of big damage.

“With that extra experience, me and Fredrik are second year, so it’s not like we’re veterans in the championship, but it just shows that little bit of more level-headedness that we have to make sure that we can week-in, week-out, race-in, race-out, stay on track and fight for those big points.”

“It’s important to have experience. It helps in those kind of pressure situations,” added Vesti.

“I think it showed today: I was also driving on the edge, but I also knew to really respect that and go for the long race it was. As second-year drivers, we need to really make sure we get the points in when the rookies make mistakes.”

MP Motorsport’s Daruvala was sympathetic with the rookies.

“They were pushing, and sometimes mistakes happen. It can happen to all of us and unfortunately it happened to them today,” he said. “Sometimes in big moments on difficult circuits, it doesn’t work out.”