Monaco Misfortune for the Red Bull Juniors

Monaco Misfortune for the Red Bull Juniors

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All three Red Bull Junior drivers suffered misfortune around the streets of Monte Carlo, as they leave Monaco feeling short-changed, following a tough Formula 2 weekend for them.

Lawson leaves Monaco gutted after making a statement in Sprint Race 2

Monaco is a place where drivers dream of at least being on the podium, so it was an “incredible feeling” for rookie Liam Lawson to find himself a race winner on his debut in Monaco.

The New Zealander took the chequered flag ahead of Carlin’s Dan Ticktum in the second Sprint Race, having the speed and impeccable skill needed in the wet conditions, around a circuit that requires no mistakes to take victory.

But the Hitech driver was disqualified after being found to have breached Article 3.6.5 of the Technical Regulations. Lawson used the wrong throttle map at the race start, after inheriting the reverse grid pole position following Marcus Armstrong’s issue on the way to the grid.

On the start, he lost a position to fellow rookie, PREMA’s Oscar Piastri, rather than gaining an advantage at all. The Stewards disqualifying Lawson and taking his second Formula 2 race win away was “a proper shame” for the Red Bull Junior.

Lawson’s Saturday became more disheartening following the Feature Race. A long pit stop prevented the Hitech driver from claiming a top five finish, or a potential podium, with a good strategy behind him.

He boxed behind UNI-Virtuosi’s Felipe Drugovich, who claimed that final podium position. However, the New Zealander “just couldn’t pass” DAMS driver Armstrong in front.

Lawson finished ahead of team mate Jüri Vips in seventh for the Feature Race. However, he will be wondering what if,  as he leaves Monaco fifth in the drivers’ standings.

Without the disqualification, he would have been one point behind Piastri in second, as the rookies continue their impressive start to the season.

Vips thinking about the positives

“I’m a perfectionist and it should have been better,” claimed the 20-year-old Hitech driver regarding the weekend in Monaco.

A mistake with his run plan during Qualifying put the Estonian on the back foot, with one less lap than the others in his Qualifying group.  He stated that the mistake “certainly” cost him second and a fight for pole.

Vips recovered well in the first races, finishing fifth in Sprint Race 1 and inheriting third place, following his team mate Lawson’s disqualification in Sprint Race 2.

Yet more mistakes from a slow pit stop by the Hitech GP team and backmarkers cost Vips “a better result” than his eighth place finish in the Feature Race.

Having considered everything from the weekend, Vips still believes that there are “plenty of positives” to take away, as the Estonian now looks “forward to the coming races.”

Daruvala looking ahead to Baku after a weekend to forget in Monaco

A mistake in Qualifying put Jehan Daruvala the back foot from the start of Round 2. After qualifying 11th, the Carlin driver admitted to being “not good enough” according to his own standards.

Qualifying was the beginning of “a massive weekend to forget” for the 22-year-old, with Race 1 “pretty much going to plan until the last lap”. He looked set to take reverse grid pole for Sprint Race 2, until Armstrong overtook him in the final corner. The Indian driver was aggrieved at having to start 11th for Sprint Race 2, at a circuit that “is all about track position.”

Daruvala’s Monaco race weekend continued to worsen when he was hit from behind at the hairpin on Lap 1 of the Feature Race, pushing him into fellow Red Bull Junior Lawson.

His race was “pretty much over,” after his pit stop lasted 25-seconds longer than any other driver, due to a front wing change. Yet, the final straw came when Campos’ Gianluca Petecof put Daruvala into the wall, ending his weekend in Monte Carlo.

The Carlin driver is determined, however, to “come back stronger in Baku,” and “prepare hard” during the week-long break.

Final Thoughts

Whilst Lawson agonizingly had his Monaco victory taken away from him, Daruvala suffered the most in Monaco, having little luck during all three races.

But one thing is for certain, all three Red Bull Juniors will be wanting to bounce back stronger when Formula 2 heads to Baku for another challenging street race.

Image Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

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Liam Lawson Red Bull Monaco

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