“It feels really good to win the last race of the season and finish on a high. It was a great battle out there with Dan (Ticktum), which got close at times, but we respected each other and raced well. The car was really good and I couldn’t have asked for a better finish,” said Jehan Daruvala after winning the edgy, final match of the Formula 2 season yesterday in Sakhir, Bahrain.
With the win yesterday, Daruvala, at 22, becomes the first Indian to win a F2 race, that too in his first-ever, rookie F2 season.
Daruvala had a great launch since he started off in second place in the beginning of the race. He did an incredible job of holding his second place position during the majority of the race with Ticktum leading all of the professional F2 drivers for most of the Sakhir Grand Prix finale.
Of course, Daruvala ousting Ticktum with a quick move later into the game effectively clinched the match for him. In doing so, Daruvala also highlighted the importance of perseverance, faith, determination, quick thinking and overall internal fortitude when it comes to winning in a highly competitive motor sport.
During his end-of-the-race interview by the race track, Daruvala mentioned that despite his season not starting off the way that he had hoped for it to, he was happy to see the uptick in his performance since then; particularly during the last few races, with the 2020 finale of F2 admittedly taking the cake.
The race in which Daruvala won was a nail-biting one. For most of its duration, one felt unsure about how it would end:
Would Mick Schumacher win the 2020 F2 championship before joining F1 next year? Would it be British racer Callum Illot instead? And who would win the finale F2 sprint race between Jehan Daruvala, Dan Ticktum, and Yuki Tsunoda? Answers to these questions hung in the air for a large majority of the match.
The F2 races, in general, were phenomenal to watch because of the beautiful and powerful cars on the track. They were made even more phenomenal because of the personalities, racing styles and attitudes brought to the racing track because of the men who drove those cars.
There also clearly seems to be a fundamental conflict when driving competitively: slowing down enough to not crash and staying on track vs. going fast enough to stay ahead and get past someone.
This is, perhaps, precisely the reason why each turn on the race course tends to throw up entirely different, and unexpected, ranking orders. It is at these turns where the cars often close their distance; some of them nearly hitting each other (which immediately or ultimately lead to a drop in the ranks, and in the absolute worst cases, an injury.) However, most of them skillfully emerge unscathed and try to race ahead after making quick and sharp maneuvers. Most of the dexterity, personality and brilliance of drivers is often seen around the corners of race tracks; where things admittedly get tough for all. That is also exactly where Daruvala proved himself to ultimately win the race.
The final F2 race of 2020 was an emotional one. One could see Mick Schumacher stepping out of his car overwhelmed by the news of his championship win, especially since he had to risk everything in order to make a pitstop in the middle of the race to get his tyres fixed.
And while most of the attention of the official F2 commentarors was fixed on who would ultimately snag the championship title, Daruvala ensured to quietly keep striving for first place, and upon getting it, to consolidate his position in the final laps by hitting on the acceleration.
Here is to watching a lot more F2 races, and here is to hoping that Daruvala makes it even bigger.
Written by Lakshmi Art Press.
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