Jeddah, Mar 28: Indian racer Jehan Daruvala claimed his second podium of the season by finishing third in the Formula 2 Feature race, held on the sidelines of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix here. Jehan raced brilliantly after starting from the 14th position on the grid at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
The 23-year-old from Mumbai, began his weekend on the back foot after a mechanical issue hampered his qualifying round. But the Red Bull-backed racer used a mix of race craft, strategy and tyre management to claw his way up the ladder.
Daruvala had a blistering start from the seventh row and quickly picked up positions. Starting on the soft tyres, Daruvala pitted at his earliest opportunity and went for an incredibly consistent second stint. To the positions gained on track, Daruvala added more spots when the late stoppers dived back to the pits. In the end, he sailed to take P3 with a solid run.
"I think it was a very good race overall, to be on the podium from P14 was the best we could do. After the issues in qualifying, to be seventh and third in the races was damage limitation. I think our strategy worked quite well. I wanted clean air as we knew that the car was really good in clean air, so we made the call to box early, and it paid off. We had a great pace after that, and in the end, it is what gave us the podium. Going from 14th to 3rd gives me a lot of confidence, now we need to start more at the front," he said.
Jehan, who went from 13th to seventh in Saturday's sprint race, earned his ninth podium in F2 with a mature drive. He passed two cars off the line at the start, pulled off a bold pass around the outside of three cars on Turn 1 at one stage, and swept past fellow Red Bull junior Ayumu Iwasa on the start-finish straight.
He timed his lone pit stop to perfection and used all his experience to keep his pace up, hunting down and passing Marcus Armstrong while managing tyre wear over a long second stint on the harder tyre. Jehan now heads to historic Imola for the next round of the season which will take place from April 22-24.