BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 05: Theo Pourchaire of France and ART Grand Prix (5) leads the field into turn one at the start during the Round 1:Sakhir Feature race of the Formula 2 Championship at Bahrain International Circuit on March 05, 2023 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)
F2 Feature Race results: Bahrain
Find out what happened in the Formula 2 Feature Race in Bahrain
Theo Pourchaire took the first Feature Race win of the season, ahead of yesterday’s winner Ralph Boschung.
First lap chaos
Friday’s polesitter Theo Pourchaire got off to a good start, coming out ahead of his teammate Victor Martins in Turn 1. It was Campos Racing’s Kush Maini who had the best start, jumping up from sixth to second by the first corner.
It didn’t take long for trouble to break out a little further down the pack, as Frederik Vesti, Richard Verschoor, Roman Stanek, and Martins all made contact. Verschoor was the first to spin but managed to keep the car going. Stanek stopped on track, bringing out the safety car.
Of those caught up in the damage, Stanek, Martins, and Vesti all retired. PREMA Racing’s Dennis Hauger also sustained major damage and went to the pits, but came out five laps later to get more running time in the car.
In the midst of the drama, Sprint Race winner Boschung jumped from tenth to third, just behind his teammate. Also making gains were Oliver Bearman and Ayumu Iwasa, who sat in fourth and fifth when the safety car came out.
At the restart on Lap 4, Pourchaire pulled away as Boschung battled with his teammate, and won out to gain second place. After a few short battles, everything calmed down as the drivers settled into place and tried to conserve tyres.
The first of the scheduled pit stops began on Lap 11, when Arthur Leclerc, Jack Doohan, and Jehan Daruvala came in to change tyres. From there, the next couple of laps were full of drivers making their stops and shuffling the order. Pourchaire came in after locking up on Lap 13, and Boschung inherited the lead before pitting two laps later.
There was drama in the pits as Doohan was released into the path of Daruvala, the two narrowly avoiding contact. Doohan received a five-second penalty for unsafe release, but Daruvala also received a five-second penalty for speeding in the pitlane.
After the pit stops were mostly complete, drivers started to vie for position again. The Ferrari Academy drivers of Bearman and Leclerc scrapped for fifth, with Lerclec winning out and putting his fellow academy member under pressure from Maini behind.
Clement Novalak, who had been running in the top five during the pit cycle, was one of the last to pit, dropping to P17. Once everyone was done pitting, the top five were Pourchaire, Boschung, Leclerc, Maini, and Bearman, with Pourchaire a whole 12 seconds in the lead.
Leclerc began having trouble with the tyres, dropping from third place to sixth in a couple of laps. The Carlin cars of Zane Maloney and Enzo Fittipaldi grappled for eighth place, a battle won by Maloney. From there, the rookie who started in 18th continued his charge up the field.
Bearman, who had been running in the top five for most of the race, began to struggle as well and lose places. After winning a tight battle with Iwasa for fifth, he was overtaken by Leclerc and slowly dropped down the field.
Also making up ground was Verschoor, who had been involved in the first lap incident and dropped to the back of the pack. After his mandatory pit stop he secured the fastest lap and began climbing back up into the points. With just four laps to go he was up to ninth place, but he didn’t stop there.
Maloney wasn’t stopping either and managed to secure third place from Maini in the final laps, making up a total of 15 places in the race. As Pourchaire raced to victory by 19 seconds, drivers in the top ten fought for the final points.
Boschung and Maloney completed the podium on a very good day for both of them. Maini settled for fourth, with Verschoor managing to make it all the way back to fifth place. Leclerc, Isack Hadjar, Iwasa, Fittipaldi, and Juan Manuel Correa made up the rest of the points finishers.