ART Grand Prix’s Théo Pourchaire won a chaotic first Feature Race of the 2022 FIA Formula 2 Championship season in Sakhir, beating Carlin’s Liam Lawson – who started from sixth – and Hitech Grand Prix’s Jüri Vips, who had to recover from 12th after a slow pitstop. MArcus Armstrong recovered from yesterday’s disappointing retirement from the Sprint Race to finish fifth.

“The race was quite good, start was really really good actually,” commented Lawson. “To be honest, I thought I was going to grab maybe P2 in the first corner but Jack squeezed me and I had rubbish all over my tyres.

“I went into Turn 4 next to Théo and I thought maybe I’ll brake late but when I turned I just had no fronts, so I had to yield from that one. We struggled a little bit on the primes to be honest. Wasn’t as fast as I would have liked, but we had a good pitstop and it got back us out in a good position on the options.

“The car was fast, I just used up a little bit too much trying to catch up. I had quite a slow out lap on the option and dropped back a little bit once the car came in I started closing in but I just used up a little bit too much. Happy with the points, but obviously a little bit disappointed not to grab the win today.”

Pourchaire leads the Championship on 25 points, with Lawson in second on 24 and Vips in third on 18. Boschung is fourth with 17 points and Drugovich is fifth with 12 points.

Carlin sit at the top of the Drivers’ Championship with 33 points, ahead of Hitech Grand Prix on 28 and ART Grand Prix on 25. Campos Racing are fourth with 17 points and MP Motorsport fifth with 12 points.

The Race

Starting from third, Jüri Vips had initially stormed ahead of Pourchaire and polesitter Jack Doohan when the lights went out, as those around him struggled to switch on the hard Pirelli tyres. The Estonian’s slow stop briefly gifted P1 back to Doohan, but the Virtuosi racer got caught in a scuffle with Pourchaire on his way out of the pits and had to go back in for a new front wing.

Pourchaire evaded damage and claimed first from the Australian, with Lawson in tow. Returning 12th, Vips had the bit between his teeth and made light work of scything through the field to P3, taking the final podium spot ahead of Campos Racing’s Ralph Boschung.

After starting from 13th, Hitech’s Marcus Armstrong made the alternate strategy work to break into the top five, ahead of MP Motorsport’s Felipe Drugovich and Carlin’s Logan Sargeant. DAMS’ Roy Nissany and Van Amersfoort Racing’s Jake Hughes steered clear of the trouble to take eighth and ninth, respectively.

Doohan recovered from his earlier disappointment to take the final points’ position, climbing back up to 10th from last place.

This remarkably handed the provisional lead of the race to Iwasa, who was up from 21st. The DAMS racer finally ditched his softs on Lap 19 and returned in 10th as Pourchaire – who avoided damage from his contact with Doohan – assumed the lead.

On the charge after his disastrous stop, Vips was lapping more than a second quicker than those around him in P5, catching up to Boschung and passing him at the first turn. Drugovich was next and Vips passed the Brazilian for third with seven laps to go.

A five-car tussle for 10th resulted in the second Safety Car of the day as Enzo Fittipaldi tagged the rear of Sprint Race winner Richard Verschoor, spinning the Trident to a stop. A flurry of activity in the pitlane led to two further retirements as Dennis Hauger and Williams both lost a tyre during their teams’ attempts to get them back out on track quickly.

Pourchaire, Lawson and Vips all kept their places at the restart as Drugovich dropped behind Boschung and Armstrong. Sargeant, Nissany and Hughes followed, with Doohan recovering from his slow stop to finish in 10th.