A late move with two laps in hand has seen Liam Lawson finish third in the Formula 2 feature race in Bahrain, leaving the rookie second in the championship after a sublime maiden weekend.
Marcus Armstrong made use of a timely safety car period to finish fifth after starting back in 14th.
Lawson flew under the radar all race, avoiding trouble and keeping his tyres in check for a late push.
In front with six laps to go, Richard Verschoor had used the best of his soft tyres and was under immense pressure by a hard-charging Guanyu Zhou.
Zhou had started on pole position but quickly slipped back to fifth as he opted to start on the slower, yet more durable, hard tyres.
Armstrong had made a blinding start and muscled himself from 14th to fourth in only eight laps.
The Kiwi soon found himself in the lead as the safety car was deployed for Gianluca Petecof who’s in-car fire extinguisher went off in his Campos.
Armstrong was then usurped by a soft-tyre shod Verschoor, while Zhou was on the charge after his slow start.
Verschoor’s mirrors were soon filled with blue and white of Zhou’s Virtuosi machine. The latter used his experience to manage his tyres, and the swap of the lead came on lap 28 of 32.
A race winner yesterday, Oscar Piastri was nipping his heels at a podium place. But the Australian would clash with Dan Ticktum, gifting the Brit second and gifting Lawson a free position.
Ticktum and Lawson were then able to overhaul Verschoor for second and third, positions they would hold until the chequered flag.
“Extremely happy to finish third today,” Lawson said. “It’s a really good haul of points, especially after yesterday’s race.
“I was really angry about how that finished because it was a lot of points that we threw away, so it was nice to bounce back today.
“We had good pace, especially early on with the options. Dan was faster, so I let him go in the end.
“I just didn’t quite have enough tyre life to fight with these two in the last couple of laps, but I was able to get back up to third. Points wise, a good weekend.”
Lawson now sits second in the championship, 12 points adrift of Zhou and is the highest placed rookie in the field.
“We were saying last year when I was in Formula 3, one of the most exciting parts of the weekend was the sitting down to watch the F2 race.
“So, it’s crazy to now be a part of it and feel what it’s like for all of these guys. I am enjoying it so far, learning a lot and there’s still a lot more to be learnt as we go on.”
Verschoor would cling on for fourth while Armstrong scored both his and DAMS’ first points of the year with a fifth-place finish.
Jeehan Daruvala finished in sixth place ahead of Robert Shwartzman. He recovered well after earning a drive-through penalty for collecting Roy Nissany on lap one.
The F2 championship will now turn its attention to the streets of Monaco, which will host round two on May 20-22.
|19||Oscar Piastri||+3 laps|