The first race of the final round of Formula 2 saw Carlin driver Jehan Daruvala hold off UNI-Virtuosi’s Felipe Drugovich to convert a reserve-grid pole and secure his second victory of the season. The Indian led from lights-to-flag, defending in wheel-to-wheel battles with Drugovich that lasted multiple corners while also superbly managing his tyres.
By Tyler Foster
Drugovich started third but quickly passed Daruvala’s Carlin teammate Dan Ticktum at the start, who struggled off the line. After several laps following closely, Drugovich made a series of advances and tried a few times to overtake Daruvala in the newly banked turn 9. At one point, both drivers were side-by-side going into the hotel section. Daruvala somehow maintained the lead throughout the middle phases of the race and by the final few laps had left enough energy in his tyres to pull away from Drugovich and out of his DRS to claim a fine victory.
“I think the race was good. I had one lap where we had Felipe battle quite hard. It was close but it was clean and it was important for me to get out of the corner in front because it’s a lot easier to manage the tyres out in the lead. With seven, eight laps to go, I could see that he was really pushing to stay close and he was struggling. From then on I just tried to keep my tyres in a good window and get the car to the flag.”
Daruvala’s first victory this season came in the second sprint race in Monza, however since then he has struggled, only finishing in the points twice in the six races since (not including this weekend). He spoke after the race about this struggle.
“Since Monza, we’ve a slight turnaround in form in terms of performance. Unfortunately, the last two rounds of qualifying haven’t been as strong as we’d hoped. I finished quite well in Jeddah but didn’t score any points, so it feels good to be here and fighting at the front for the top step.”
Despite improving this year in the F2 Drivers’ Championship, moving from 12th last year to 7th currently, he has not made the advances that some may have predicted. His performances in the 2019 Formula 3 season, where he finished third in the standings would indicate that there is still more to come from the rapid Indian. Daruvala spoke to F1 Feeder Series after the race, discussing his future in Formula 2 and made a rather large revelation about his plans for 2022.
“I’ll definitely be driving in Formula 2 next year. That’s a positive. Obviously, it’s not going to be announced yet but hopefully in the next few days before the Post-Season Test you guys will know where I’m at. Hopefully there’s only one aim for me next year and that’s to win the Championship.“
Considering that he has been with Carlin for the last two seasons, who have for the most part been a midfield team in Formula 2, it may be that Daruvala will re-emerge with 2021 F2 Teams’ Champion Prema for next season as he had previously raced for the Italian outfit in his successful 2019 F3 campaign. Only time will tell.
Header photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool