Here we go again in Bahrain for round 12 of the F2 championship at the Sakhir Grand Prix. On Sunday, one driver will be crowned 2020 F2 champion.
Following last weekend’s two races on the Grand Prix layout; Luca Ghiotto, Louis Delétraz, Guanyu Zhou and Christian Lundgaard were all eliminated from the title fight.
Mathematically, 5 drivers can still win but their chances become increasingly remote as you look down the table.
F2 Sakhir GP Preview: Mick Schumacher
Mick Schumacher has been so good at consistent points hauls across both races in each weekend for the second half of the season. It is the reason he the championship leader right now. All the more surprising then that his tyre preservation skills failed him in the Sprint Race on Sunday when he should have been capitalising on Callum Ilott’s misfortunes. Schumacher can wrap the title up on Saturday by outscoring Ilott by 18 points. But as that is the points for a 2nd place finish, it seems likely that the title will be resolved on Sunday and probably in his favour. Another feather in his cap to go with his F1 drive next year.
F2 Sakhir GP Preview: Callum Ilott
Callum Ilott can lay claim to being the genuine Mr Saturday of 2020. Sure George Russell has been dragging amazing performances from his Williams to make Q2 on a frequent basis but Ilott has scored 5 pole positions out of 11 rounds to date. 45% of F2 poles this year were Ilott’s. Which is also been one of the keys to his title campaign with 20 points coming his way for that achievement.
Ilott had no answer for Felipe Drugovich in the Feature Race but 2nd place plus his pole ensured he outscored Schumacher by 10 points. Unfortunately the Sprint Race was an unmitigated disaster with an unforced error and a drive through penalty for ruining Daruvala’s race.
With the door to F1 closed in his face and reportedly with no budget for 2021, this could be the last time we see Ilott in F2.
F2 Sakhir GP Preview: Nikita Mazepin
It was a stellar weekend for Nikita Mazepin last time out. A spirited drive from a poor qualifying position yielded 5th place on the Saturday and a second storming drive on Sunday saw him finish 2nd. He capped his weekend by at long last being announced as a Haas F1 driver for 2021. The world’s worst kept secret was finally in the open.
Mazepin would need to win both races and take fastest lap in both to gain 44 points while also needing Schumacher and Ilott to score nothing.
F2 Sakhir GP Preview: Robert Shwartzman
Shwartzman put in a very composed and dominant Sunday drive to Sprint Race victory on the Grand Prix layout last weekend. But a weak qualifying on Friday left him fighting for 8th place and reverse grid pole which he duly achieved. However 4 points from a possible 27 on a Saturday is simply not good enough.
Shwartzman has expressed his desire to come back fighting harder than ever for the 2021 title and that would be where his best efforts should lay. Don’t forget that if he scoops the title, he cannot return for next season. Being 46 points off of the title lead means his chances are slim to none of winning this thing.
F2 Sakhir GP Preview: Yuki Tsunoda
Red Bull Junior Yuki Tsunoda is 48 points behind championship leader Mick Schumacher, in 5th place in the standings. 48 is precisely the number of points available this weekend. Were Schumacher to score no points AND Ilott score less than 14 points AND Tsunoda managed to get pole, win both races and get both fastest laps then he would be crowned champion with 4 wins to Schumacher’s 3. But seriously, how likely is that?
F2 Sakhir GP Preview: Bahrain Outer Loop
We have seen F1 cars driving on the piece of track that links Turn 4 to Turn 13 at Bahrain before. In 2010, the Grand Prix was held on the so-called Endurance Layout which does include these corners. But as the overall layout wrecked what is otherwise a superb venue for wheel to wheel racing, it is impossible to get a flavour of what will happen in F2 at this weekend’s Sakhir GP based on 2010.
Of course, as we have said previously, do check out Jimmy Broadbent’s video where he takes a modern F1 car around the full outer loop layout.
With the barrier on the exit of Turn 3 receiving a covering of tyres for the weekend, I’m pleased that the organisers have taken steps to once again mitigate a risk for the drivers.
It appears then Aitken has driven his last F2 race as Campos appear certain to confirm Samaia in the second seat alongside Boschung.
Theo Pourchaire will return for a second weekend in the HWA. He had a solid Feature Race but was sidelined in the Sprint Race when the onboard fire extinguisher went off in his car.
The expectation is that we could see some of the closest slipstream racing in modern times in both F1 and F2. And that is certainly my hope. Not long to go now till the cars hit the track and we finally get some answers at the Sakhir GP.