F2 Bahrain.

Yesterday we saw one of the best races of the season so far and maybe one of the best races we will see all year.
The race was completely ruled by one man, he appeared to be in a completely different class to the rest of the field. You would expect little else from a Ferrari driver, but this race was exceptional.
At the end of the race as he jumped out of his car, parked in the winner’s spot underneath the podium, you could see exactly what it meant to him.
The win had been hard fought but it was down to pure skill and driver talent. At the post-race press conference, the looks on the faces of the second and third placed drivers told the whole picture. They knew they had been beaten by talent and skill alone. The winner was simply better than them.
Whilst this was indeed the scene at the Bahrain International Circuit, it was not the scene from the Formula 1 race. The race of the season had occurred mere hours before the lights went out and Bottas appeared to squander his best chance yet of a race victory.
It was in the F2 Sprint Race that Charles Leclerc destroyed the competition. It wasn’t a lights-to-flag domination which got everyone talking about it, but a display of over-taking and risk-taking which worked out so well for the young Ferrari driver.
After a competitive start and a safety car period, the front of the race was looking tight. Laps 7 to 14 saw the battle for the lead change hands and Leclerc take control. The sprint race is only 23 laps long, so when you are in the lead after 14 of them, you can feel some sense of the impending victory.
Just hang on for 9 more laps and the win is yours.
Or do as Charles Leclerc and his Prema Racing decided to do and pit for fresh tyres. To the outside it was not the logical choice. Not just to pit from the lead, but to even think about changing tyres in a 23-lap sprint race.
He came out of the pits in 14th and 24-seconds behind the leading car. 24 seconds in 9 laps is just under 3 seconds a lap plus the over-taking. It’s not the best-looking calculation a racing driver could face.
It took no time for Leclerc to be back up in the top three and harrying the leading pair of Rowland and Ghiotto. It took the last two laps and a brave dive up the inside to claim the lead, before extending his margin to 1.5 seconds before crossing the finishing line.
It’s not often that you will see the leading car dropping back to 14th and then over-taking the field for the win. We can remember Jensen in Canada performing such heroics, but it just happens so rarely that when it does it deserves to be applauded.
It doesn’t matter to us that the best race of the weekend was a support race, or that another Ferrari driver won. The racing was what grabbed our attention and we felt truly spoilt by Leclerc’s skill and ability.
If Kimi hangs on for another year and Leclerc keeps his form, there could be an outstanding up-and-coming young driver sitting opposite Vettel in the garage.

Picture courtesy of F2
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