Jehan Daruvala fought for victory in Formula 2’s Jeddah sprint race and eventually finished third. However, he had no regrets about how his race turned out.
The MP Motorsport driver appreciated his pace turnaround since the Bahrain season opener, but felt he had enough speed on Saturday to win.
“It’s a bunch of mixed emotions,” he said. “I would definitely say I was disappointed I didn’t win because the car was very good and I had a lot of pace today. But coming from Bahrain, if someone told me I would have this much pace in Jeddah in the race, I would definitely take it.
“Being on the podium, I’m disappointed but also not disappointed because I took a lot of risk to win. Ayumu [Iwasa, the winner] was really good in the last sector, and I wanted to stay close. The only chance to attack him was turn one. I was taking a lot of risks in turn 22, and that’s when I made a mistake and Victor [Martins] got close and I lost the position.
“I have no regrets, I tried to win the race and in the end it didn’t pay off.”
Daruvala was asked post-race about his lack of pace at Bahrain, where he finished 17th in the feature race, and admitted he is clueless to the reasons behind his struggles.
“Honestly, I don’t have an answer,” he said. “I’ve always been fast in Bahrain. It’s probably been my best track in record, and the feature race two weeks ago I was pretty much last. I went backwards the whole race, and I still don’t have an explanation. It was good to bounce back like this.
“Apart from Victor yesterday, who was in another league in qualifying, I had the pace to be on the front row, and today I had good pace, probably similar to Victor’s. All-in-all I’m happy, and I think I can even fight for the win tomorrow in the feature race.”
He told Formula Scout that “after round one I was not mentally in the best place last week, and we had a lot of motivation, worked hard on the simulator and we’ve come back strong this weekend”.
Daruvala is determined to use the ups and downs of his Jeddah sprint race to improve for Sunday’s feature race.
“If I could do anything better, putting myself in a better position to overtake the cars. I was in an aggressive mindframe, which was good, but that couldn’t quite win the race. I’m disappointed because I felt like we had a lot of pace, and could have won.
“I will definitely look back at the race and learn as much as I can. Tomorrow is going to be hotter, there’s going to be supersoft tyres, which is going to have some degradation.”
He added: “I expect it a difficult and physical race, more than a race of tyre degradation. I think we will be pushing from start to end, and it should be pretty entertaining.”