Pourchaire claims dominant win after first-lap crash eliminates rivals · RaceFans

Théo Pourchaire comfortably won the Formula 2 feature race in Bahrain to lead the championship after the season’s opening weekend.

He crossed the line 19 seconds ahead of Ralph Boschung, yesterday’s sprint race winner, who took second place. Zane Maloney, who started 18th, joined both drivers on the podium. Boschung and Maloney both benefitted from a lap one collision which put many front-runners out of the race.

Pourchaire lined up in pole after clinching it by an emphatic margin of seven tenths of a second in qualifying. The ART driver made the perfect start, but chaos broke out behind him on the opening lap.

Vesti lunged down the inside of turn four and sent Verschoor into a spin, while Stanek and Martins were affected in the aftermath. Verschoor was the only one of the four to continue the race. The stewards will investigate the incident after the race.

Amid the collision, several drivers rose up the order. Kush Maini rose from fifth to second while Oliver Bearman initially gained nine positions to take third. However Boschung, who avoided the turn four carnage and emerged in fourth, then passed Bearman at turn 10, having moved up seven places in a single lap.

The collision left large gaps in the field but those were swiftly closed as the Safety Car was inevitable deployed. On the lap three restart, Boschung immediately gained another position as he overtook team-mate Maini down the inside of turn one for second place.

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Pourchaire pitted from the lead to make his mandatory pit stop on lap 13. Boschung came in the next time around, but lost more time through his in- and out-laps, and Pourchaire’s advantage swelled from one second to 10, leaving him in an unchallenged lead.

On lap 19, Boschung was joined by team mate Maini in the top three after Arthur Leclerc made a mistake. The Ferrari junior locked up at turn 10 and went wide on the exit which suddenly put him under threat. Maini completed his overtake on the inside of turn 11.

Leclerc slipped up again on the following lap. This time he locked up at turn one which caused him to lose two positions with Bearman and Ayumu Iwasa, who took fourth and fifth respectively.

It was a tough race for Leclerc, who locked up again at turn 10 on lap 25. That handed sixth to Maloney, who continued to progress through the field. The next time around Maloney overtook Iwasa for fifth, and took fourth from Bearman soon after. On the penultimate lap, he got into the podium positions by overtaking Maini down the inside of turn one.

Up front, an untroubled Pourchaire crossed the line 19 seconds ahead of Boschung with Maloney in third. Maini finished fourth ahead of Verschoor, Leclerc, Isack Hadjar, Iwasa, Enzo Fittipaldi, while Juan Manuel Correa rounded up the top 10.

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Formula 2 Bahrain race two results

Position Car Driver Team
1 5 Théo Pourchaire ART
2 25 Ralph Boschung Campos
3 3 Zane Maloney Rodin Carlin
4 24 Kush Maini Campos
5 22 Richard Verschoor Van Amersfoort
6 12 Arthur Leclerc DAMS
7 10 Isack Hadjar Hitech
8 11 Ayumu Iwasa DAMS
9 4 Enzo Fittipaldi Rodin Carlin
10 23 Juan Manuel Correa Van Amersfoort
11 16 Roy Nissany PHM Racing by Charouz
12 9 Jak Crawford Hitech
13 21 Clément Novalak Trident
14 8 Ollie Bearman Prema
15 15 Amaury Cordeel Virtuosi
16 14 Jack Doohan Virtuosi
17 2 Jehan Daruvala MP
18 17 Brad Benavides PHM Racing by Charouz
19 1 Dennis Hauger MP
20 6 Victor Martins ART
21 7 Frederik Vesti Prema
DNF Roman Staněk Trident

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