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Formula 2 Championship: Mumbai’s Daruvala on podium in Russia

10:55 PM Sep 26, 2021 | PTI

Sochi: India's Jehan Daruvala capped off his weekend in Russia with a third place finish in the feature race of the Formula 2 Championship here on Sunday.

Jehan, who was second fastest in the qualifying, dropped a place at the start to settle for the final podium position. It was also his fourth podium this season.

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The Red Bull junior driver remains seventh in the standings with 96 points.

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One of the two sprint races were scrapped this weekend due to wet weather. Jehan finished out of points in the sole sprint race held.

Oscar Piastri took his second consecutive feature race win and extended his lead in the drivers' standings with a commanding drive at the Sochi Autodrom. The Australian headed Théo Pourchaire across the line, with Jehan occupying the final spot on the podium for Carlin.

Starting from pole position, Piastri retained his position at the head of the field at the start of the race, while Pourchaire moved ahead of Daruvala for second place at Turn 2. A fast-starting Ralph Boschung progressed into the top three, while championship-contending Guanyu Zhou slipped from fourth to eighth.

Piastri and Pourchaire slowly pulled away from the rest of the pack throughout the 28 laps, with Pourchaire briefly moving ahead of Piastri when he pitted one lap later than the PREMA driver.

However, with his hot tyres, Piastri regained the net lead, which he did not concede for the remainder of the event.

Late drama for Boschung saw him retire, after being in contention for the podium for much of the race. With Daruvala third, local favourite Robert Shwartzman was fourth, ahead of Saturday's Sprint Race victor Dan Ticktum.

A total of 21 cars lined up on the starting grid, with Felipe Drugovich ruled unfit to participate following his crash prior to the commencement of Saturday's race. At the front, Zhou endured a difficult start and dropped four positions, while Daruvala slipped from second to fourth having been overtaken by Pourchaire and Daruvala.

Further back, Bent Viscaal was forced to retire for the second race in a row following contact with Roy Nissany – Nissany would later receive a five-second time penalty for the incident.

A brief Virtual Safety Car was deployed, with Lirim Zendeli peeling into the pits to replace his front wing, which had been stripped from his car on the opening lap.

When the action resumed, Marcus Armstrong and Liam Lawson battled for 12th, with the latter attempting the alternate strategy by starting on the medium tyres compared to those on the Super Softs around him.

Pourchaire sat just over one second behind Piastri in the fight for the lead, but was unable to make a push into DRS range. Jüri Vips became the second driver to retire as his car slowed on Lap 6 – he returned to the pits, but was forced to park up his car due to an issue.

Boschung held third but was under pressure from Daruvala.

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