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Jack Doohan scored his first podium in Jeddah after a points-less first round of the Formula 2 season.
The Invicta Virtuosi Racing driver finished sixth last season in his rookie year. After taking pole positions and wins throughout the season, he was touted to be one of the main title contenders of 2023.
But the first two rounds have been surprisingly tough for Doohan. He failed to score any points in Bahrain, a track he scored his maiden pole position at last year. This time out, he qualified 17th and remained outside the points in both races.
The second round was better for Doohan, qualifying fourth at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit and finishing seventh in the Sprint and second in the Feature.
But the Australian driver admitted he’s been struggling to find confidence in a car that feels different to last year’s.
In the press conference after the Feature Race, Doohan said: “The top guys in the championship didn’t score so great today so to be up there and to get higher up on the board, consolidate myself for the year, it’s great.”
“I’ve been struggling to find confidence with the car. We’ve had quite a few fundamental issues so far this season which has been quite a big shock to the system for all of us because it hasn’t been in our control.
“Trying to eliminate that every time we get out on track – still coming into today I didn’t have any confidence at all unfortunately but hoping that with things that we’re changing, we’re going to reinstate that.
“We did a good race, did the maximum we could. I don’t think I had the outright pace but to finish P2, finally a little bit of good luck, I’m happy to be here.”
When asked if he felt better in the car this weekend than in Bahrain, Doohan answered: “For sure, quite a lot more confident. I still don’t have that same feeling that I had at the end of last year. But I think that’s only a positive.
“We showed strong pace in parts of today. It feels bittersweet, I’m not happy and the team’s not happy for us to be in this position. I think when we get things sorted, we’re going to be very hard to beat.”
In addition, Doohan told Speedcafe that the car “hasn’t been amazing, but we’re doing everything that we can to try to get on top of it.”
Two rounds into the 14-round-long Formula 2 season, Doohan sits sixth in the standings. Fortunately for him, and any other drivers struggling to find pace, there’s still plenty of time to make up ground, and the title is still entirely up for grabs.
Will Doohan find the confidence and pace in the car in time to make a bid for the 2023 title?
Feature Image Credit: Joe Portlock – Getty Images