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F2: Red Bull junior Lawson wins on debut in Bahrain Sprint Race 1

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The Red Bull junior team dominated the opening race of the Formula 2 season, as Liam Lawson won on his debut with Hitech Grand Prix, holding off the challenge of Jehan Daruvala in Sprint Race 1 at Sakhir.

Scampering ahead of Theo Pourchaire at the start, Lawson spent the majority of the morning in a to-and-fro with his former Formula 3 rival, before seeing the Sauber junior driver retire.

READ MORE: 5 drivers you should be watching closely in Formula 2 this season

This handed Daruvala – up from fifth – an opportunity to duel with his Red Bull rival for the lead, but the Carlin driver had no answer to Lawson’s defensive masterclass and had to settle for second.

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 27: Liam Lawson of New Zealand and Hitech Grand Prix (7) leads Jehan

Lawson fended off fellow Red Bull junior Daruvala for the win

Title-favourite Robert Shwartzman endured a difficult return to the track on Friday, as mechanical troubles left him unable to set a lap time in the second run of qualifying and had him starting back in 11th. Determined to make amends, the Ferrari junior flung his PREMA up to fifth in the opening lap and then had a podium in his sights when Pourchaire retired.

READ MORE: 5 reasons why you should be excited about the new Formula 2 season

However, Shwartzman’s attack on Charouz rookie David Beckmann was stalled by his team mate, Oscar Piastri. The reigning F3 champion had jumped ahead of Christian Lundgaard and kept Shwartzman occupied in the closing laps. The duo eventually settled on fourth and fifth, with Beckmann retaining third.

Finishing 10th, Lawson’s Hitech team mate Juri Vips will start from reverse grid pole later today in Sprint Race 2 at 1940 local time.

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