It was a heartbreaking feature race for PREMA Racing at Bahrain International Circuit. After fighting at the top end of the charts in the closing race of the 2021 opener, Oscar Piastri had to retire with three laps to go due to contact, while Robert Shwartzman overcame an early incident and a penalty to secure seventh place.
Piastri had an amazing start from P6 and was able to fight his way to the lead in a few laps, showing great pace. Unfortunately, a late safety-car put the Australian on the short end of the tyre strategy, like all the drivers who elected to start on softs. At the following re-start, Piastri, now on hard tyres, had to fight for every position among drivers with a quicker compound and eventually ended up with a contact.
Shwartzman had to face another challenging day. The Russian was involved in contact during the opening lap, which resulted in a drive-through penalty for causing a collision. Courtesy of the late safety-car however, Shwartzman caught up with the tail of the group and sliced his way through the pack to claim a points finish and fastest lap of the race.
# 1 – Robert Shwartzman
“I'm super sad about how this weekend turned out since the car and balance were quite good. I think we had enough potential to battle for the podium in all three races. Today I made quite a good start, but there was no room, and I was a bit confused about where to go. Then, in turn 3, Armstrong pushed me off on the kerb and into the gravel, whichcould have beendangerous. I lost positions, and I reached turn 4 with dirty tyres. I locked both front tyres and hit Nissany. It'smy fault, and I take all the blame, I couldn't control anything at that stage. I served the drive-through, which was fair, and then tried to do the best I could to recover. In the end, we finished P7, close to P6 and with the fastest lap time. Now it's time to go back to work and focus on the next round.”
# 2 – Oscar Piastri
"Tough race in the end. Until the contact with Ticktum, it had been an awesome race, with mega pace on the softs. Even with the hards, we were sticking in there. I could see that the two drivers in front were starting to fall back towards me, and at the same time, the people behind were catching up. I was trying to stay in third to try and fight for the win at the end, but just wasn't meant to be today."