Oscar Piastri is one step closer to securing his third championship title in three years after picking up two race wins during the penultimate round of the FIA Formula 2 Championship.
Having entered the round in Saudi Arabia with a commanding lead over fellow Alpine academy driver Guanyu Zhou, Piastri continued his strong form right from the get-go – securing his fourth consecutive pole position.
As a result, Piastri started the first sprint race for the weekend in P10 but could only get as high as ninth before being elevated to eighth after the fifth placed Jehan Daruvala was handed a post-race penalty.
The 20-year-old then showed why he is Alpine’s F1 reserve driver in 2022 with a highly mature performance in the second sprint race that saw him victorious after a thrilling battle with Daruvala throughout the 20-lap affair.
In a race that had multiple safety car periods, Piastri started from the second row and made up a position straight after lights out to go second place before hunting down Daruvala early on where the duo's multiple battles begun.
With the race leader handed a time penalty, which was to be added post-race, all Piastri had to do was stay within five seconds of him, which he did with ease.
However finishing second wasn’t good enough for Piastri as he continued to pile on the pressure throughout the race with multiple attempts at the lead - before succeeding briefly on lap 14, only for Daruvala to reclaim it straight away.
Three laps later, Piastri made another move for the lead having gone wheel-to-wheel with the Indian, but this time he made it stick. once he got it.
Piastri then enjoy a comfortable run to the chequered flag after another incident saw the race finish under the safety car – the Victorian winning his fourth race for the year.
More drama occurred in the feature race as initial track repair delays and a scary crash between Theo Pourchaire and Enzo Fittipaldi at lights out caused a lengthy stoppage for the category.
When the feature eventually got underway, Piastri had a good run from the rolling start and held his position well, only for the race to be officially called off four laps later when Guilherme Samaia and Olli Caldwell collided.
The result meant that half points were awarded and Piastri’s win over Prema teammate Robert Shwartzman saw him move to 51.5 points ahead with just one round remaining.
Piastri and Shwartzman’s haul of points from the weekend also saw Prema Racing win the Constructors title after securing an unattainable lead over rivals Carlin.
In addition to Piastri’s big weekend, fellow Australian Jack Doohan made his F2 debut, with the Queenslander producing some impressive results during the round.
Racing for MP Motorsport, the 2021 FIA Formula 3 Championship runner-up showed plenty of pace, claiming 11th place in the opening sprint race before picking up points in just his second ever F2 race.
Starting from P11, Doohan made up four positions during the race to move to seventh place, which was then changed to fifth after Daruvala and Christian Lundgaard received their post-race time penalties – the safety car finish seeing the two demoted from podium positions to outside the top 10.
Doohan was unable to make up as much ground in the feature race due to the short finish, but still impressed many after his debut.
The FIA Formula 2 Championship continues this weekend with the final round of the 2021 season to take place at Yas Marina Circuit as part of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.