Renault Sport Academy duo Anthoine Hubert and Guanyu Zhou and Renault F1 Team’s Test Driver Jack Aitken all enjoyed points-scoring finishes at the 2019 FIA Formula 2 season-opener in Bahrain.
Anthoine shone in Saturday’s Feature Race, rising from eleventh on the grid to a superb fourth place on his debut in the Formula 1 support series.
Chinese teen Guanyu picked up points across both races in Bahrain. He finished tenth after starting from seventeenth in the Feature – claiming a bonus two points for the Fastest Lap – and an impressive fourth on Sunday.
Jack, who qualified a strong fifth, lined-up on the front row for the Sprint race following his seventh place in the Feature, but was unable to convert that grid position into points and ended eleventh.
Anthoine Hubert, Qualifying: P11, Feature Race: P4, Sprint Race: P9
“It’s not that I didn’t expect to be fourth in the first race, but it’s still a bit of a surprise. We’ve worked hard since the test and I used my experience from GP3 and aimed to do everything well and put it together over a race weekend, which worked really well in Bahrain. Qualifying was an improvement from testing and I was satisfied by that. Maybe I could have been on the podium, but I have to be happy with fourth in the Feature Race. I know I can do better, but we have many things to improve on. Race two was a bit more difficult, starting fifth with a target of finishing on the podium, but we struggled with tyre management and strategy. We finished ninth, which is still a good result. Overall, it was a really good weekend and a good base to start and work for the season.”
Guanyu Zhou: Qualifying: P17, Feature Race: P10 + FL, Sprint Race: P4
“The weekend was really good overall, especially for my first time in Bahrain. Qualifying was a bit of a shame as we had some brake issues, but we made a good recovery from that in race one. We went from seventeenth to tenth for the final point and took an extra two with the Fastest Lap of the race. There are still lots of things to learn over longer races, especially with managing strategy. Race two I started from tenth and I had to manage my tyres well and tried to not fight too much on track. During the last couple of laps, I knew I had chance to overtake some cars in front and I made some good moves to finish fourth. I’m extremely happy with the whole weekend, it was an amazing job done by the team with the car. The focus is on Baku now and a new track to learn.”
Jack Aitken: Qualifying: P5, Feature Race: P7, Sprint Race: P11
“The weekend grew more and more difficult, especially after such a good qualifying. That was the high point for us. We took a chance running in the gap, which maybe cost us a couple of tenths, but I think we did a really good job there. The Feature Race was a little bit tricky, we didn’t get our tyre management quite right and we were missing a bit of pace, but we still managed good points in seventh, which meant a reverse grid front row. Our Sprint Race wasn’t helped being hit off at Turn 6, while running in second, and that meant we dropped to ninth and couldn’t recover. We should have finished closer to fifth to take more points, so that’s a shame.”