F2 Championship: India’s Jehan Daruvala finishes on podium in Monaco

Monaco, May 29 (IANS) India’s Jehan Daruvala took his fourth podium from five rounds of the F2 Championship this season with a second-place finish this weekend at the iconic Monaco street track.

The 23-year-old chalked up the landmark result, his 11th Formula 2 podium, in Saturday’s Sprint race.

The Prema Racing driver had lined up third on the grid. He got a good getaway but had to take avoiding action to dodge a stalled pole-sitter Jake Hughes which allowed teammate Hauger into the lead.

Daruvala slotted into second and gave chase but was unable to find a way past on the twisting streets of the Principality, notorious for being difficult to overtake on, with the top six, except Hughes, finishing in the order in which they started.

Still, Daruvala took home his first Monaco podium, the Red Bull-backed racer going up to the hallowed Royal Box, graced by many of motorsport’s greatest over the long history of the Monaco race, to receive his trophy.

Daruvala followed up his Sprint podium with a points-scoring finish in Sunday’s Feature race.

He started 8th but was squeezed into the wall at the start.

He opted for a similar strategy to the one he used in Saudi Arabia, where he went from 14th to third, choosing to start on the softer tyre and stop early.

But an inopportune safety car allowed those running further up the field to bank a ‘free’ pit stop. That denied drivers like Daruvala, who had stopped early and were closing the gap to rivals scheduled to pit later, the chance to vault past them through the stops.

Still, Daruvala once again showed his racing nous and made up ground with a perfectly-timed dive up the inside of Calan Williams into the Tabac corner. He finished eighth.

After the race, Daruvala said, “Standing on the podium in Monaco is a dream come true for any driver. It would’ve been great to win the race but overtaking around here is never easy. I’m really happy with the pace we had over the weekend — we were as quick as anyone out there. The feature race was pretty straightforward but I managed to pull off a good move, that was fun! Now looking forward to some exciting racing on the streets of Baku in a couple of weeks.”

Daruvala, a three-time winner in Formula 2, stays third in the overall drivers’ standings.

The next race will take place in two weeks’ time in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku, another challenging street venue.

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