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The Carlin drivers were the men to catch in Sochi as Tsunoda claimed pole and a podium.

Yuki Tsunoda and Jehan Daruvala locked out the front row, Tsunoda then converted it into second in the Feature Race. Daruvala took fifth with both aiming for more in the Sprint Race.

There was a big crash in Race 2 that saw two drivers in the wall; both are okay. However, the red flag came out and the barrier repaired for the Formula 1 race.

The stoppage meant that the Red Bull Junior drivers couldn’t get what they wanted out of the race.

Tsunoda spent the whole weekend near the front. He was fast in practice and qualified on pole position.

Yuki Tsunoda said: “A strange race today. A strange result but still a very good weekend for the points and a good race yesterday.

“We were really quick from the beginning, also my teammate, I think the Carlin team did a really good job of preparation.

“The qualifying pace was amazing, I just had to put it all together, and we got P1. Good to get those points, a really good qualifying for me.

“[In Race 1] the start was good, and until the pit stop, it was perfect. It was a little bit unfortunate that Schumacher passes me down the straight after I came out of the pits.

“When that happened, I picked up a bit of rubber from the outside of the track, and that caused less grip, and I also got overtaken by Ilott.

“After that, the pace was okay; I recovered pace and caught Ilott again on the last lap and overtook him. So that was not too bad, and I got good points for P2.

“For Race 2, the start was okay, I kept my position, and after that the pace was good, and I overtook three cars. Then two cars ahead went into the barrier, and we got the red flag. A bit of a shame as I had strong pace and I think a better finish was possible.

“A good race weekend and now third in the championship. It is a really tight championship. I am going to keep pushing just like this weekend. Pushing for the championship and to enjoy my racing. Refocus for Bahrain.”

Daruvala was also on the pace and was happy to be up there with his teammate. He started practice strong and went into qualifying confident in his pace.

He topped the session after the first run but ultimately qualified just behind his teammate in second.

Daruvala said: “I think it was a big improvement overall. Qualifying went really well. Obviously, it was really close in the end between me and Yuki, and he just managed to beat me by six 1000ths so I couldn’t really complain about that.

“At the time I was disappointed, having dominated until the last lap but compared to where I have been in the past few weekends it is really positive, really good.

“In the Feature Race the start was pretty okay, but I still got away third because the dirty side of the track here is really bad. I had a better start than everyone on the dirty side, so that was good.

“I lost out in the pit stop, lost the podium position, then fell back one more place with a mistake on my side into Turn 1.

“In the Sprint Race, again, I made a good start from the dirty side of the grid. Unfortunately, I made a few errors myself and then got a five-second penalty for the way I re-joined the track on Lap 6 even though the race was classified from Lap 5.

“I spoke to the stewards about it, and they kind of agreed with me but said it is the rule. The guys who caused the crash that stopped the race still got their position from Lap 5, but I lost mine for something I did on Lap 6.

“Tough to swallow but all in all a good weekend and I’ve now had five good starts in a row, that’s positive, and the speed was also a positive this weekend. It’s nice to go into the break with these positive things to think about.

“I can’t go back to India in the break, the situation there is too bad, but my sister and mum are coming to the UK to spend some time with me so that will be great. I haven’t seen them since the start of the year.”

F2 will take a two-month break before concluding with a doubleheader in Bahrain where Carlin will want to keep up their pace.

Picture Credit (C): Formula Motorsport Limited

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