Boschung and Maini score strong haul of points in Jeddah

The duo of Campos Racing finished fourth and fifth on Saturday after another thrilling performance in their Dallara F2 cars. Boschung and Campos Racing leave Saudi Arabia leading the drivers’ and teams’ standings

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Campos Racing and its drivers made it into the points in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, whose second event of the season took place at Jeddah Corniche circuit in the frame of the Saudi Arabia F1 Grand Prix. Ralph Boschung and Kush Maini displayed more strong performances in their Campos Racing-entered Dallara F2 cars. They remained in podium contention during Saturday’s sprint race and finally brought two more points-paying finishes.

Just like two weeks ago, Campos Racing and its drivers already posted competitive lap times during morning’s free practice session. Maini was particularly impressive as he took fourth place in the timesheets, a massive achievement considering he had never raced before in Jeddah. The Indian driver clocked a lap time of 1m43.978s. Boschung scored a best lap of 1m44.354s, which left ninth in the standings but still with plenty of room to improve.

Later in qualifying, the session promised to be extremely close and tricky due to potential yellow and red flags due to incidents. As soon as the qualifying kicked off, Maini and Boschung completed promising lap times of 1m42.880s and 1m43.295s respectively to provisionally take 2nd and 5th in the standings. Not by surprise, red flags waved when Richard Verschoor spun out and stopped on the track. Session resumed with ten minutes to go and both drivers in Campos Racing colors managed to lower their best lap times. Maini posted a time of 1m42.360s and Boschung’s lap time was pretty close, a personal best of 1m42.497s. With still a narrow margin to improve with a late attempt, another red flag with two minutes to go ruined their chances and Maini qualified in 8th place and Boschung was ninth-fastest and the session didn’t resume.

For Saturday’s sprint race, Boschung and Maini lined up second and third on the reverse starting grid. When the lights went out, the first chicane was pretty tricky and both drivers of Campos Racing lost a place as Ayumu Iwasa moved past on the inside. The first safety car was deployed in lap 2 as Zane Maloney spun out and couldn’t restart. The safety headed into the pit laten two laps later and Boschung overtook Jak Crawford for second place at T1. Behind, Maini got under pressure from Jehan Daruvala but he stayed calm and even avoid a crash involving Oliver Bearman and Théo Pourchaire. This collision brought the safety car out once again. At the restart, Boschung and Daruvala started another nail-biting dogfight. Victor Martins took advantage of the racing battle to move past Daruvala and Boschung himself. The Swiss driver still brought a fourth-place finish home to finish valuable points for the championship. Similarly, Maini finished in fifth place after overtaking Crawford on the outside with the rookie of Campos Racing being particularly fast in the closing moments of the race.

On Sunday, Maini had moved up seventh on the grid as Pourchaire received a five-place penalty following his crash in race 1. Both Maini and Boschung chose to start on the super-soft compound. When the lights went out, Maini and Boschung ran in the top-ten after the first lap. The Virtual Safety Car was deployed as Brad Benavides made contact at the start. Back in racing conditions, Maini and Boschung focused on nursing their tires. Finally, the Indian ace made his mandatory pit stop in lap 6 for his set of medium tires. Boschung made his pit stop in the following lap. From then onwards, and due to traffic and DRS train, it was difficult to make further progress in the field. After 28 laps, Maini finished in 12th place. Boschung ended up six places behind.

After two rounds, Boschung has taken the lead in the drivers’ standings on 33 points, one ahead of Pourchaire. Maini sits currently in ninth place. Besides, Campos Racing is also the leader in the teams’ standings on 51 points, a two-point lead on ART Grand Prix.

The FIA Formula 2 will now make the trip Down Under for the very first time with Round 3 taking place at Melbourne’s Albert Park Circuit in two weeks’ time. It will a huge challenge for everybody as the Australian venue is completely new on the calendar.