As all eyes were focused on Oscar Piastri becoming the 2021 FIA Formula 2 Champion, Jehan Daruvala fought hard in the opening Abu Dhabi Sprint Race to bring home his second victory of the season.
This weekend is a full U-turn from last time out in Jeddah, where the Carlin driver failed to finish in the points and the Indian driver was satisfied to see his improvements in pace over the second half of the season pay off.
“I think since Monza we’ve had a slight turnaround in form in terms of performance. Unfortunately, the last two rounds the Qualifying again wasn’t as strong as we hoped.
“I finished quite well in Jeddah but didn’t score any points so it feels good to be back here and fighting at the front on the top step.”
Starting on reverse grid pole, Daruvala got a storming start to hold the lead ahead of UNI-Virtuosi’s Felipe Drugovich into Turn 1.
Duelling in the desert, the pair fought hard up front, which allowed the PREMA duo of Robert Shwartzman and Piastri to close to within 2 seconds.
Knowing the pace of the pair behind, Drugovich knew it was now or never. A less than ideal front-left lock-up at Turn 6 for Daruvala on Lap 12 opened the door for him, as the Carlin missed the apex of the corner.
Going side-by-side at the exit of Turn 7, the UNI-Virtuosi narrowly squeezed in front at Turn 8 before Daruvala managed to claw the lead back at Turn 9, noting that the pair were racing very much on the edge.
” I just tried to make it really hard for him in Turn 9, I squeezed him all the way to the white line on the inside to make the corner really hard.
“To be fair to him, we left each other just about enough room to get round the corner. ”
The fight to end the season as the top Red Bull junior in F2 is very much on. Currently in seventh on 111 points, the victory has helped Daruvala close the gap to Jüri Vips in sixth to only five points with two races remaining.
Image Credit: Formula Motorsport Limited