BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 04: Ralph Boschung of Switzerland and Campos Racing (25) leads the field into turn one at the start during the Round 1:Sakhir Sprint race of the Formula 2 Championship at Bahrain International Circuit on March 04, 2023 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)
F2 Bahrain: Sprint Race Results
Find out what happened in a race full of battles in Bahrain for Formula 2
Campos Racing’s Ralph Boschung cruised to victory ahead of a tense battle for the top positions.
Ralph Boschung, the reverse grid polesitter, had an excellent start to stay ahead of Roman Stanek. Stanek, who started second, fell back behind both DAMS cars of Arthur Leclerc and Ayumu Iwasa.
Everyone steered clear of major issues during the first lap. But the battles for position started right away, with Leclerc and Iwasa fighting for second place.
In a new rule for Formula 2, DRS was enabled after the first lap instead of the third, but the battles behind allowed Boschung to pull away by that time. He stayed within a second of Iwasa for a few laps, but managed to maintain and widen the gap as the laps ticked down.
Meanwhile, the ART Grand Prix cars were proving their speed. Martins, who started eighth, made his way to fourth by the second lap, and Pourchaire, who started tenth, made his way to seventh by the second lap.
They didn’t stop there. By Lap 3, they were up to third and fifth respectively, and Pourchaire had claimed the fastest lap of the race so far.
As the race continued, it was ART versus DAMS for the top five positions, and Boschung pulled out of DRS range of the group. But then Leclerc, who was running fourth at the time, received a ten-second stop/go penalty for a starting procedure infringement (as did Isack Hadjar), and was forced to withdraw from the battle.
The fight for the top five positions didn’t calm down as the race went on. Martins took second place from Iwasa on Lap 9, but Iwasa refused to give up and got the position back a few corners later. Meanwhile Pourchaire was close enough to challenge both of them, but had to save his tyres as much as possible after using them too hard towards the start of the race.
Further down the field, the Carlins of Enzo Fittipaldi and Zane Maloney made up ground, both getting past Oliver Bearman right outside the top ten. Even further down, Juan Manuel Correa and Jak Crawford also made up a few places.
With ten laps to go, Martins was ready to challenge Iwasa again for second place. He took it into Turn 1, but once again Iwasa fought hard and regained the place. But this time, after several corners of close, clean fighting, Martins came out on top and secured second place.
Now Iwasa was left to fight with Pourchaire for third place, and again put up a good fight to hold the position. Pourchaire, struggling with the tyres, soon had to give the position up to Hauger, who was still in range to join the battle.
It was just one lap later when Iwasa locked up going into the final corner of the track, which lead to both Pourchaire and Hauger getting by him. From there, the race calmed down a little, as Bearman pitted for new tyres and gained the fastest lap not long after.
As the laps ticked down, Stanek fought to hold onto the final points-paying position, but was beaten to it by Fittipaldi.
All of a sudden Daruvala joined the fight for the top five, closing in on Pourchaire who barely managed to stay ahead. Meanwhile, Martins was under threat from Hauger, who took second place with just one lap to go.
Pourchaire battled with Daruvala till the end, but managed to stay ahead as Boschung crossed the line to win the first Formula 2 race of the year with an impressive ten-second margin.
He was followed by Hauger and Martins, who completed the podium. Iwasa was fourth, and Pourchaire and Daruvala were behind him. Kush Maini and Fittipaldi grabbed the final points positions, while Zane Maloney and Juan Manuel Correa completed the top ten.