Jack Doohan gained one place in the FIA Formula 2 world championship standings after a solid weekend in Spain, the Australian taking fifth and sixth places in the Sprint and Feature races respectively at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
One week after heavy contact with the barriers brought his Monaco event to a fiery halt, Jack qualified a strong third on Friday in Spain, continuing the form that saw the Invicta Virtuosi Racing driver top the timesheets on two days of F2's three-day in-season test at the same circuit last month.
"Friday, obviously qualifying was quite strong," Jack said after finishing just 0.110secs adrift of pole- sitter Ollie Bearman (Prema).
"First run was really good, second run was coming good again but unfortunately just lost it in the last sector – it didn't really come together, which lost us a bit of time. Still, P3 wasn't bad for the weekend."
Jack started from seventh in Saturday's reverse-grid 26-lap Sprint after Theo Pourchaire (ART) was penalised for impeding Dennis Hauger (MP Motorsport) in qualifying, and shone early on a track soaked with rain. He gained two places at Turn 3 with a robust move to advance to fifth on the opening lap, and maintained that spot until the chequered flag after the track dried, Jack pitting with five laps left for slicks before falling just over a second short of a podium finish.
"Managing to get P5 in the Sprint, up a couple of places in the wet and then drying conditions … it wasn't the easiest race," Jack explained.
"I wouldn't say our pace was particularly amazing as I was struggling quite a lot, so happy to be able to come forwards as we did."
Starting Sunday's 37-lap Feature race from third, Jack was initially overtaken by Pourchaire and Ayumu Iwasa (DAMS) before putting a superb move on the Japanese driver at Turn 10 on the first lap to regain fourth. He pitted to discard his soft tyres for hards on lap 11 and quickly dispatched Pourchaire, but later fell behind fast-finishing pair Victor Martins (ART) and Frederik Vesti (Prema), who both employed a counter hard-to-soft tyre strategy after starting the race from the tail-end of the top 10 to make the podium.
Jack eventually came home sixth, 17 seconds behind race-winner Bearman, to bank 12 world championship points for the weekend – his best event haul since round two of the season in Jeddah in March, where he finished second in the Feature race. He now has 40 world championship points for the season to sit in 12th place in the standings ahead of the next event in Spielberg at the Austrian Grand Prix (June 30-July 2).
"Starting P3 … I was expecting quite a lot more, so it was a tough result to take finishing P6," Jack said.
"We simply just weren't fast enough, and we got undercut in the pit stop and then got overtaken by two people on the alternative strategy, which wasn't easy. I gave it my all and did my best, but unfortunately it wasn't there."
"You have to take the positives, I got some decent points on the board, and I look forward to being back out there in Austria in a few weeks."
FIA Formula 2 World Championship: Round 6 Spain results
Sprint race (26 laps): Started 7th, finished 5th
Feature race (37 laps): Started 3rd, finished 6th
2023 F2 World Championship standings: 40 points (12th overall)
Next F2 event: Spielberg, Austria (June 30-July 2)