Bearman completes Baku double with Feature Race victory

Bearman completes Baku double with Feature Race victory

BearmanOliver Bearman completes Baku double with Feature Race victory

PREMA’s Ollie Bearman survived an early Théo Pourchaire overtake to win his first Feature Race in FIA Formula 2 and complete a Round 4 double in Azerbaijan after winning Saturday’s Sprint Race.

“So happy to do the double!” Bearman said, adding: “A huge testament to the team, they gave me an amazing car all weekend.”

However, 17-year-old Bearman missed out on a clean sweep of the points. After scoring points for pole position on Friday and the fastest lap bonus point in the Sprint, Hitech’s Isack Hadjar took the fastest lap point in the Feature Race.

ART’s Théo Pourchaire now leads the championship after finishing third behind Rodin Carlin’s Enzo Fittipaldi, as former leader Ayumu Iwasa had an off-weekend and scored no points.

Pourchaire now leads the series standings ahead of PREMA driver Frederick Vesti, who finished 5th.

Reigning Formula 3 champion Victor Martins finished fourth, while there were points for Kush Maini, Dennis Hauger, Hadjar, Richard Verschoor, and Jak Crawford.

In a surprisingly well-behaved race, Bearman displayed both pace and composure in equal measure.

After taking the pole on Friday, despite his steering wheel not pointing straight, the young Briton made a composed start, holding off Fittipaldi, who started alongside him on the front row.

Pourchaire quickly moved into second, then snatched P1 on Lap 3 before his teenage rival retook the lead with DRS on Lap 4.

“I didn’t really know how fast to go,” Bearman said of the early stages, “Théo was pushing a lot, he went past, and then I knew how fast to go!

“The second stint, I was just pretty unchallenged; I was just managing my pace.”

Once back in the lead, Bearman opened a gap of just over one second before the leading duo made their mandatory pit stop on Lap 8, one lap later than Fittipaldi and Martins, who sat behind them.

Vesti, who had run fourth early on, stopped on Lap 6 and lost several positions as drivers behind him ran an extra lap with hot tyres.

Following the pit stop phase, the race remained somewhat tranquil for an F2 race in Baku, although Brad Benavides caused a Virtual Safety Car (VSC) when he crashed his PHM car into the wall of an escape road when attempting a flick-spin return to the track.

There was also a moment of drama when MP Motorsport’s Jehan Daruvala went wide at Turn 1 and re-joined the circuit in a manner the stewards deemed unsafe.

Rodin Carlin’s Zane Maloney was forced to take avoiding action, and the stewards handed the Indian driver a 10-second time penalty as a result.

At the front, Bearman pulled away from Pourchaire on the medium tyres, keeping his concentration and displaying the speed that had helped him win Saturday’s Sprint Race.

By Lap 22, the Ferrari Driver Academy member had pulled nearly three seconds on the Frenchman, with Pourchaire now driving on his mirrors as Fittipaldi closed in.

The Brazilian, grandson of double F1 champion Emerson, took second place on Lap 24, scoring his first podium finish with the Rodin Carlin team.

But there was no catching Bearman at the front, who successfully closed out the race to seal a perfect weekend, which means the 17-year-old climbs to fourth in the championship standings.

Pourchaire leads the way by five points from Vesti, with Iwasa dropping to third, ahead of Bearman and Campos’ Kush Maini.

Image Credit: Scuderia Ferrari is your home for Formula 2

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BearmanOliver Bearman completes Baku double with Feature Race victory