F2: Pourchaire heads Red Bull juniors Lawson and Vips in Feature Race at Sakhir
Sauber Academy driver Theo Pourchaire won a frenetic first Feature Race of the season in Sakhir, beating Red Bull Junior Team drivers Liam Lawson – who started from sixth – and Juri Vips, who had to recover from 12th after a slow pit stop.
Starting from third, 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 Alpine junior 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 Ralph Boschung.
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After starting from 13th, Marcus Armstrong made the alternate strategy work to break into the top five, ahead of Felipe Drugovich and Williams junior Logan Sargeant.
Roy Nissany and 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.
Pourchaire’s third F2 victory puts him at the top of the drivers’ championship on 25 points, with Lawson in second on 24 and Vips in third on 18. The F2 campaign will continue in less than a week as the grid head to Jeddah for the second round of the season.