Home Featured Tsunoda wins F2 feature race at Bahrain as title fight goes to final race

Tsunoda wins F2 feature race at Bahrain as title fight goes to final race

by Craig Woollard

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Carlin’s Yuki Tsunoda won the Formula 2 feature race on Bahrain’s Outer layout, as Mick Schumacher’s points lead goes unchanged into the title decider.

Tsunoda started on pole but Hitech GP’s Nikita Mazepin lunged into Turn 1 and took the lead.

From there, Mazepin led Prema’s Robert Shwartzman and Tsunoda as the trio opened up a gap to the rest of the pack – helped by HWA Racelab’s Artem Markelov having a wide moment while running fourth.

Tsunoda jumped the trio in the pitstop phase, only to be passed by both Mazepin and Shwartzman who had warmer tyres. All three started on the conventional strategy of using the soft compound tyre before the hard.

But Tsunoda was able to work his way back past to retake the lad with four laps of the 48-lap race to in a frantic scrap. But the move is under investigation as Tsunoda may have had four wheels off-track at the time.

Virtuosi Racing’s Guanyu Zhou was the highest placed runner on the alternative strategy, having started outside of the top 10, and ended up finishing second despite a five-second penalty for speeding in pitlane.

Mazepin held off MP Motorsport’s Felipe Drugovich for third at the end. Drugovich had the faster car but was forced off by Mazepin on the last lap, an incident that is also under investigation.

Prema’s Mick Schumacher was another to use the alternative strategy after qualifying 18th, and was able to utilise it to climb up to seventh, just behind Virtuosi Racing title rival Callum Ilott. By taking fastest lap, Schumacher maintains his 14-point advantage going into the season-ending sprint race, while Tsunoda and Mazepin are now out of title contention.

Shwartzman dropped back to fifth in the end, just ahead of Ilott, while Carlin’s Jehan Daruvala was passed towards the end by Schumacher and slipped back to eighth, not helped by a poor start.

DAMS’ Dan Ticktum – the first to stop for soft tyres – ended up ninth ahead of Charouz Racing System’s Pedro Piquet.

Markelov dropped down to 13th, while ART Grand Prix’s Christian Lundgaard finished in 21st after stalling but did unlap himself during the race.

Race results (48 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Yuki Tsunoda Carlin 52m59.396s
2 Guanyu Zhou Virtuosi Racing +5.613s
3 Nikita Mazepin Hitech GP +6.280s
4 Felipe Drugovich MP Motorsport +6.655s
5 Robert Shwartzman Prema +7.438s
6 Callum Ilott Virtuosi Racing +8.143s
7 Mick Schumacher Prema +10.339s
8 Jehan Daruvala Carlin +11.818s
9 Dan Ticktum DAMS +14.640s
10 Pedro Piquet Charouz Racing System +17.511s
11 Marcus Armstrong ART Grand Prix +17.789s
12 Louis Deletraz Charouz Racing System +19.374s
13 Artem Markelov HWA Racelab +31.999s
14 Ralph Boschung Campos Racing +34.388s
15 Giuliano Alesi MP Motorsport +35.082s
16 Luca Ghiotto Hitech GP +38.113s
17 Marino Sato Trident +39.059s
18 Theo Pourchaire HWA Racelab +41.719s
19 Sean Gelael DAMS +45.847s
20 Roy Nissany Trident +50.305s
21 Christian Lundgaard ART Grand Prix +59.292s
22 Guilherme Samaia Campos Racing +1 lap
Fastest lap: Schumacher, 1m04.087s

Championship standings
1 Schumacher 213   2 Ilott 199   3 Tsunoda 186   4 Mazepin 177   5 Shwartzman 169   6 Lundgaard 149   7 Zhou 143.5   8 Deletraz 134   9 Drugovich 117  10 Ghiotto 104