Jehan Daruvala led a Carlin 1–2 in the Sakhir sprint race for his first win in Formula 2, while Mick Schumacher clinched the 2020 championship in a dramatic final round of the year.
Daruvala initially lost out at the start, as an unsuccessful move for the lead on polesitter Dan Ticktum into Turn 1 shuffled him back to third, with Schumacher benefiting to take second.
But at Turn 4 Schumacher had a major lockup as he tried to take the lead from Ticktum, and Daruvala retook second place as Schumacher got his car back under control.
The lockup left Schumacher with a big flat spot on his right front tyre, which put him under pressure from his championship rival Callum Ilott in fourth. Schumacher briefly relieved that pressure by setting the fastest lap to catch and pass Daruvala again with a daring move around the outside of Turn 6. But that only lasted until lap 8 when Daruvala got back ahead once again.
As he struggled with the vibrations from his tyre, Schumacher made several lockups trying to keep Ilott behind. His teammate Robert Shwartzman tried to get involved as a rear gunner by harrying Ilott from fifth, but ultimately neither Prema was able to stop Ilott from breezing past Schumacher on lap 19.
Once Ilott was ahead, Schumacher plummeted through the points positions. He was passed by Shwartzman and Guanyu Zhou a few corners later, and spent the rest of the lap defending from Yuki Tsunoda before choosing to risk a pit stop for fresh softs.
With Schumacher coming back out in 20th, Ilott’s chances of winning the title rested on catching Ticktum and Daruvala to take the race win. But the laps spent trying to get past Schumacher had damaged Ilott’s tyres as well, and he wasn’t able to make any dent in his gap to the front.
Meanwhile, Tsunoda started moving through the pack with rapid pace. On lap 24 he took fifth from Shwartzman, then fourth from Zhou a lap later.
On lap 26, Tsunoda caught Ilott and passed him into Turn 1. Ilott then began to drop back as Schumacher had. His teammate Zhou overtook him for fourth through Turn 4, before he was eventually shuffled back through the order and out of the points by Shwartzman, Giuliano Alesi, Luca Ghiotto and Nikita Mazepin.
As Tsunoda was carving his way through the field towards the podium, his teammate Daruvala was hassling Ticktum for the race lead as Ticktum struggled with fading rear tyres.
Daruvala cut the lead down to three tenths as early as lap 13. But despite Daruvala going for an overtake nearly every time the pair went through Turns 1 and 4, Ticktum was able to hold the Carlin behind for another 12 laps.
His defence came undone however with a lock up out of the final corner on lap 25, which allowed Daruvala through before the DRS straight. Daruvala then pounced clear for the remaining 10 laps, while Ticktum eventually fell back into the clutches of Tsunoda and had to settle for third behind the two Carlins.
Zhou finished fourth ahead of Shwartzman, Alesi, Ghiotto and Felipe Drugovich. Schumacher could only improve to 18th by the chequered flag, but with Ilott unable to get back into the points his championship was assured.
Tsunoda clinched third place in the standings ahead of Shwartzman and Mazepin, securing enough points for his FIA Super Licence and earning him the Anthoine Hubert Award for the highest-placed rookie driver. Carlin also beat Hitech to third in the teams’ standings.
Full race result:
|2||Yuki Tsunoda (FL)||Carlin||14|
|4||Guanyu Zhou||UNI-Virtuosi Racing||8|
|5||Robert Shwartzman||Prema Racing||6|
|6||Giuliano Alesi||MP Motorsport||4|
|7||Luca Ghiotto||Hitech Grand Prix||2|
|8||Felipe Drugovich||MP Motorsport||1|
|9||Nikita Mazepin||Hitech Grand Prix|
|10||Callum Ilott||UNI-Virtuosi Racing|
|11||Pedro Piquet||Charouz Racing System|
|12||Christian Lundgaard||ART Grand Prix|
|13||Louis Deletraz||Charouz Racing System|
|14||Marcus Armstrong||ART Grand Prix|
|18||Mick Schumacher||Prema Racing|
|19||Guilherme Samaia||Campos Racing|
|20||Artem Markelov||BWT HWA Racelab|
|21||Theo Pourchaire||BWT HWA Racelab|
|Ret.||Ralph Boschung||Campos Racing|