Hitech driver Liam Lawson has won a tense season opener on debut after holding off Carlin’s Jehan Daruvala.

Formula 2 lined up to kick off the day on Saturday with their first of two sprint races of the day. The top 10 from qualifying is reversed, with Theo Pouchaire on pole thanks to a penalty for Juri Vips after qualifying yesterday. David Beckmann would line up alongside the Frenchman. Liam Lawson was third and Oscar Piastri lined up fourth.

The lights went out, and Liam Lawson went to the lead from third immediately. Beckmann stayed second, and Pouchaire fell to third. Pouchaire took second back halfway through lap 1 but Lawson was off and away.

Dan Ticktum crashed into Richard Verschoor at turn 1 on lap 2, spinning the Dutchman around, while Drugovich picked up damage in the first laps too. Then Marcus Armstrong brought out the Virtual Safety Car with a mechanical issue. Ralph Boschung hit Armstrong as he stopped, and he too was out of the race.

When the VSC ended, Lawson kept his lead while Lirim Zendeli did a daring move on Roy Nissany to take tenth. Guilherme Samaia got a time penalty for a VSC infringement, as did Ticktum for spinning Verschoor.

The race then began to calm down as drivers began to nurse tyres so they can push at the end of the race. Beckmann ran off the road at turn 10 on lap 10 but just stayed ahead of Daruvala. It wasn’t for long though, as Daruvala sailed around the outside of him at turn 4 to take third spot.

Then, heartbreak for Theo Pouchaire. Some sort of issue meaning he needed to pull out of the race while running smoothly in second place. A virtual safety car came out for the second time in this race, although short-lived.

The race entered its late stages. Daruvala was beginning to catch Lawson, while Schwartzman was finding some pace too. On lap 17, Daruvala made it into the DRS zone, as Lawson’s tyres began to degrade. The New Zealander ran wide at turn 8, and the number 6 Carlin came ever closer.

There was nothing in it between the two, but Daruvala couldn’t seem to make the move. They were ages ahead of third-placed Beckman, and with three laps to go, it was getting close to crunch time for these top two. Prema teammates Schwartzman and Piastri went into all-out warfare for fourth, getting up close and personal more than once.

On the last lap, it was all or nothing. Daruvala had a proper go at turn 4, but couldn’t pass Lawson. The win went to him on his Formula 2 debut. Daruvala was second after a gallant effort, while Beckmann was a safe and secure third. The top five was completed by Schwartzman, but only just ahead of teammate Piastri.

The final top 10 follows:

1Liam LawsonHitech Grand Prix+15
2Jehan DaruvalaCarlin+0.925+12
3David BeckmannCharouz Racing+14.382+10
4Robert SchwartzmannPrema+17.078+8
5Oscar PiastriPrema+17.504+6
6Christian LundgaardART Grand Prix+18.552+4
7Guanyu ZhouUNI-Virtuosi+22.289+2
8Dan TicktumCarlin+24.860*+1Time Penalty +5sec
9Lirim ZendeliMP Motorsport+27.291+2*Fastest Lap
10Juri VipsHitech Grand Prix+27.933+0

Founder and CEO of ASN Motorsports. From Balcarce, Argentina - I love motorsports, especially Formula 1, and through ASN I share my passion with the world.