Busy Sunday – Massive F2 Fun from Bahrain


Interviews by Sergio Álvarez; photos by Diego Merino; also feat. screen grabs from https://www.fiaformula2.com/livetiming/index.html

Well… what can one say about the Sprint Race? There are some key talking points to take away since we can’t really go to the real restaurant any more.

There was a mighty cock-up/lock up from Ilott which might just cost him the championship at the end of the day. But if FDA intended for CI to be at least in the top 3 this year, then I guess his job in F2 is done, providing he already knows what he’s gonna be doing next year but won’t share it with us – yet. Nice kid.

Schumacher’s Sunday drive may have yielded only two points from a very modest P7, however that’s a solid championship lead and a full Alonso (#14) between the Quick Mick and Callum at Speed. I’d love to see the fight go down to the wire: last race, last lap, last corner. There’s nothing more exciting than that. A glass of vintage sherry perhaps?

And how about a Russian one-two? That’s quite exotic for Formula 2. From Sergey Zlobin’s first cautious baby steps in the Minardi, to Petrov’s trailblazing first podium and Kvyat’s rollercoaster ride in Formula 1. They’re making it happen. The Kremlin bells are ringing with joy (in a good sense). Hallelujah!

Despite Roy Nissany’s hard-earned 5 points so far, coincidentally the same amount of points that are in seasoned veteran’s Markelov pocket (I mean it’s Markelov we’re talking about here!), P9 seemed like a decent result after all. Any top 10 appearance is a welcome position for RN to be in. Gotta give to the guy, he’s not giving up. It’s perseverance that counts and it goes a long way. Hat’s off to Roy Nissany.

And now the presser….

  1. Robert Shwartzman (PREMA Racing)
  2. Nikita Mazepin (Hitech Grand Prix)
  3. Louis Delétraz (Charouz Racing System)

Q: Which corners here in Bahrain are the most crucial ones in terms of having to look after the tyres and make sure they lasted the race distance? (Tyres, not corners. Although after F1 drivers put on their demolition derby show, you never know!)

RS: I think the most important corners to save the tyres are the high-speed ones, so I would say Turn 11, Turn 12, Turn 13 – they were the main part (of the track) where you could save the most. Also probably the chicane, so 5 and 6.

NM: I was actually very curious what Robert was gonna say because it was obvious when I was behind him that he was slow in high-speed (corners). To be honest, I think I’m the wrong person to anwer it because for the first ten laps I was racing hard because I knew I needed to get forward. But from a theoretical point of view, of course, what Robert has said is exactly what the engineers’ book says.

LD: How much saving? I don’t know if my onboard was on TV but it was more sideways than forward car! But then generally, I try to avoid sliding in high-speed corners to avoid overheating the tyre. That’s the main thing. But definitely today that was not the case.

Q: What have you learned this weekend that you could apply next time for the outer layout?

NM: I would say Turn 1 and Turn 20, obviously they’re the two corners that we’ve done before. I could even say Turn 4 but obviously the exit is a little bit different. To be very honest, I think the only thing that we should carry on is the tyre saving in terms of micro and macro asphalt (google it) because that’s staying the same. I believe that no one’s ever done this layout before. I haven’t had a chance to even do a track walk on it. So let’s wait and see.

LD: Yeah, I did (learn). I think first of all, there’s a few corners that will remain, the good thing is when you have one thing learned for the next week pretty much – because the rest should be flat (out). And tyre saving a bit. In the end, we know the balance in the corners that we have to know and we know where we can improve. And that’s what we can take. It will be a bit of a new thing for everyone to have so many laps and such a strange track. We don’t have much practice to learn. Also, I learned this week that you don’t have to give up in Bahrain and you can try different stuff and next week I’m gonna try again.

RS: Well, like the other guys said, the last corner and the first two coming are the same, more or less. Maybe Turn 4 is a bit different. The starts – that’s a good thing that I learned, we’ll manage to improve the start. And I think, just a little bit, some situations that you need to learn by driving in the race. That’s something, for sure, that we learned today.

Q: Do you guys think the final corner will become more of an overtaking opportunity given the longer run from the outer circuit? (Thanks, Chris?)

RS: I think every corner, apart from the corner that’s missing the chicane, is gonna be an overtaking corner, so surely there’ll be quite a few overtakes.

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