For the drivers in the Prema Team at Imola, it seemed like lady luck was simply not on their side on Sunday after an impressive outing on Saturday.
Indian driver Jehan Daruvala kept out of trouble in the tricky conditions around the circuit during Free Practice, a scruffy qualifying session left put him P8 for Sunday’s Feature Race.
“In Qualifying, we had really good pace, I didn’t quite put the middle sector together and Qualified 8th. It wasn’t a true show of the pace we had.”
All was not lost however as he started P3 for the Sprint Race and he made the most out of the position he started on. On light out, Jehan made a lightning getaway and was soon behind the race leader and eventual race winner Marcus Armstrong. Scoring a podium for PREMA in their home race meant that Jehan had a very good day in the office on Saturday.
“Race 1 was good, a podium with P2, some good points.”
On Sunday, Daruvala got off to a clean start, kept his car out of trouble and drove a very mature race, and managed his pace well too. Unfortunately, an alternate strategy for him proved to be the Achilles’ hill for his race. A safety car meant that those who started out on the softer tyres could switch to the medium tyres. The subsequent race events meant that those late stopping could never have a chance at the podium.
The dynamics of the race meant that Jehan could not fully the quick pace that he showed all weekend.
“In the Feature Race, we were very very unlucky with Safety Cars and timings, Pit Lane closing, and so on. I was the fastest in both stints and yet in the end we finished 9th. I was clearly the quickest car on Prime and again when we put the Options on I was really really quick.”
Nevertheless, the Indian remains unfazed by the events as he moves into third position in the drivers ‘ championship.
“The thing is, we were really fast, I closed the overall gap to the championship leader even though things didn’t go quite to plan. All in all not a bad weekend but not really that great.”
For the Norwegian driver Dennis Hauger, it was a contrasting weekend of sorts. Risking the conditions, Hauger qualified P5 for the Feature Race.
A quick start on Saturday’s Sprint Race saw him propel up to P3 behind his Indian team mate and that’s where he stayed for the remained for rest of the 25 laps eventually claiming the podium.
“I am feeling more at home with the car. In the end we were in a position to fight for the win I think if we didn’t have the problem at the start, and getting pushed on the grass, we were on the right strategy and pace was good in the Sprint Race with room for improvement.”
The F2 campaign hasn’t exactly started in the most dominant fashion for the 19-year-old reigning FIA F3 champion as he has been hampered by bad luck in the last two rounds. Sunday’s Feature Race did not provide any relief as he made contact with Virtuosi Racing’s Jack Doohan and ended up into the wall right at the start of the race ending with a DNF for both drivers.
“We came into the Feature Race confident so it was a real shame, got turned into at the start and lost a lot of potential points. It’s annoying we get this unlucky stuff.”
However, Dennis remains determined despite the bad luck and hopes to turn it around in Barcelona.
“But pace is better and hopefully our luck will turn around at the next round.”
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