MP Motorsport’s Felipe Drugovich claimed his first Feature Race victory in an epic thriller, as Callum Ilott cut Mick Schumacher’s title lead down to 12 points with three races left of 2020 season.
Drugovich made a strong getaway to snatch the lead from Ilott and dominated the opening stint until his pit-stop on lap 16 which saw him rejoin ahead of the Brit, only for a lock-up to allow Ilott through before reclaiming the advantage into Turn One on lap 20.
Ilott’s title rival, Schumacher meanwhile was on the alternate strategy and pitted on lap 20 but struggled to recover positions after rejoining in sixth just behind an almighty scrap, eventually winding up fourth after a stunning defence from Carlin’s Jehan Daruvala in the closing stages.
Nikita Mazepin finished fifth ahead of Yuki Tsunoda who fought from 22nd on the grid to claim third for tomorrow’s Sprint Race grid, with Marcus Armstrong finished seventh which places him second on the grid tomorrow behind reverse-pole sitter – Robert Shwartzman who finished eighth.
British duo of Dan Ticktum and Jack Aitken rounded out the points in ninth and tenth respectively.
Speaking on his first F2 Feature Race victory, Drugovich felt that the first corner was crucial, saying; “We got a good start and I got by Callum at Turn 1. The job was a bit easier after that because I got clean air out in front. The pit stop went well and from there, it was about keeping the pace.”
Schumacher now leads Ilott by just 12 points whilst Tsunoda sits third in championship ahead of Mazepin, who leapfrogs Christian Lundgaard and Shwartzman to go fourth in the drivers’ standings.
Louis Deletraz, Guanyu Zhou and Luca Ghiotto consequently are eliminated from the title fight which leaves Schumacher, Ilott, Tsunoda, Mazepin, Lundgaard and Shwartzman left to battle for the crown with three races left in this 2020 season.
Ilott got a clean getaway and immediately tried to fend off Drugovich who had the inside line and was able to seize the lead from the Brit’s grasp, before controlling the opening laps as Ilott desperately fought to get back into the lead and boost his title hopes.
Further behind the front two, Schumacher made a great start to slot into fifth as Ticktum slipped from third to eighth, with the German then taking Zhou for fourth through the esses despite making contact in which Zhou came off worse with front wing damage to ruin his race.
Schumacher soon caught and passed Armstrong at the start of lap two into Turn One but the Kiwi fought back at Turn Four to hold third place, until Ilott’s medium tyres began to fade when Armstrong passed him on lap eight before running wide to concede second to Schumacher a lap later at Turn 11.
Ticktum soon began to complain of dead hard tyres and wanted to “get off” those tyres after lap 12 which he did at the end of that lap, alongside Ilott who suffered a botched front left tyre change but received the unexpected benefit of Zhou who helped him bridge a gap to those just behind him.
Drugovich meanwhile had made his mediums last until the start of lap 16 and rejoined with a two second lead over Ilott but a lock-up at Turn 10 allowed Ilott through, but Drugovich stayed composed and swept past Ilott into the lead on lap 20 as Schumacher pitted.
Drugovich soon began to build a gap between himself and Ilott which eventually wound up at 14.833 seconds at the flag, whilst Schumacher’s ill-timed pit stop left him sixth with three cars scrapping in front of him.
One of those drivers was his teammate – Shwartzman who offered up no defence when Schumacher passed him a lap later for fifth, which became fourth two laps later when he passed Armstrong only to then fail to clear Daruvala who produced an defensive effort to keep Schumacher off the podium.
Armstrong and Shwartzman eventually wound up in seventh and eighth after finding themselves caught and passed by Mazepin and Tsunoda, with the Japanese driver hitting back with a superbly calculated drive to keep his FIA F1 Superlicense dreams alive.
Further down the order, Aitken tangled with Lundgaard at Turn One on lap the Dane struggled with his tyres but survived to finish tenth as Ghiotto fell to 12th at the flag, after being pipped to 11th by Charouz’s Pedro Piquet at the flag.
F2 debutant, Theo Pourchaire finished 18th in his first Feature Race after running as high as second and was just 0.351s off MP Motorsport’s Giuliano Alesi, who fell away in the closing stages after a strong opening stint.
2020 Bahrain Feature Race Result
|1||Felipe Drugovich||MP Motorsport||32||58m 24.004|
|2||Callum Ilott||UNI-Virtuosi||32||+ 14.833|
|3||Jehan Daruvala||Carlin||32||+ 19.376|
|4||Mick Schumacher||Prema||32||+ 20.270|
|5||Nikita Mazepin||Hitech GP||32||+ 28.293|
|6||Yuki Tsunoda||Carlin||32||+ 28.590|
|7||Marcus Armstrong||ART GP||32||+ 31.361|
|8||Robert Shwartzman||Prema||32||+ 43.868|
|9||Dan Ticktum||DAMS||32||+ 46.959|
|10||Jack Aitken||Campos||32||+ 47.327|
|11||Pedro Piquet||Charouz||32||+ 49.174|
|12||Luca Ghiotto||Hitech GP||32||+ 49.294|
|13||Sean Gelael||DAMS||32||+ 50.590|
|14||Guanyu Zhou||UNI-Virtuosi||32||+ 53.775|
|15||Roy Nissany||Trident||32||+ 53.816|
|16||Louis Deletraz||Charouz||32||+ 55.957|
|17||Giuliano Alesi||MP Motorsport||32||+ 1m 01.488|
|18||Theo Pourchaire||HWA Racelab||32||+ 1m 01.839|
|19||Christian Lundgaard||ART GP||32||+ 1m 03.086|
|20||Marino Sato||Trident||32||+ 1m 05.576|
|21||Guilherme Samaia||Campos||32||+ 1m 06.756|
|22||Artem Markelov||HWA Racelab||32||+ 1m 16.019|