Flawless Lawson wins on F2 debut, 3rd in Sunday feature

Liam Lawson drove a near perfect race to win on his FIA Formula 2 debut, the HiTechGP driver leading home fellow Red Bull Racing junior Jehan Daruvala and David Beckmann in the season’s opening sprint race in Bahrain.

Lawson had started from P3 on the grid but a brilliant start saw him pass pole sitter Theo Pourchaire and Beckmann and catapult into the lead. From then on, the New Zealander, who won his last race in F3, drove like an F2 veteran to protect his tyres and keep Daruvala at bay.

“That was pretty awesome. Starting third, I had a pretty good start and led from that moment onwards,” Lawson is quoted on the official F2 website. “I had massive pressure from Jehan (Daruvala) towards the end of the race and learned a lot. I’m excited to get into the night race later today.”

Behind the podium finishers, it was a good start for the Prema team, partnered by Acronis, as Robert Shwartzman kept new teammate and F3 champion Oscar Piastri at bay after a titanic battle, the pair finishing ahead of Christian Lundgaard, Guanyu Zhou and Dan Ticktum.

Sunday podium leaves Lawson in good shape after opening weekend

Starting 8th on the grid for Sunday’s feature race, Lawson was content to play the waiting game, pitting for a fresh set of hard compound tyres on lap 17 to take him to the end of the race. And when the tyres started to come to the Kiwi passed Richard Verschoor and up to third for a second podium of the weekend.

“Other than Race 2 which wasn’t ideal, it was a good haul of points available there if we didn’t have the crash, but today’s race was good,” reflected Lawson after his second podium of the weekend. “I don’t think we quite had the pace to fight for the lead, but I was able to just sit there within DRS behind Dan and I guess pick up the small scraps, so it was a good haul of points in the end and I’m pretty happy with the weekend.”

Fraser Masefield

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.