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F2/F3 Power Rankings – Bahrain BRILLIANCE starts 2024

F2/F3 Power Rankings – Bahrain BRILLIANCE starts 2024

F2/F3 Power Rankings – Bahrain BRILLIANCE starts 2024

F2/F3 Power Rankings – Bahrain BRILLIANCE starts 2024

Formula 1 wasn't the only championship starting its season in Bahrain, with Formula 2 and Formula 3 in action at the Sakhir circuit, too.

An all-new chassis greeted the 22 drivers in F2, effectively making it a step into the unknown for all racers, whether returning to the paddock or jumping up from F3 or below.

F3 had no such shine in terms of machinery, but the talent shone bright enough, with the 30-car grid arguably representing the strongest field the championship has seen since its 2019 rebrand.

With new names standing out and much-hyped drivers struggling in the desert, here are F2 and F3's standout performers from Bahrain.

READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: Mercedes pushing Russell, NOT Hamilton insists F1 champion

Formula 2

Zane Maloney - A+

The only thing Zane Maloney didn't manage on this opening weekend was to take pole position from an otherwise faultless start to the season — but I think I can forgive him being less than a tenth off.

Two race wins in a single round is something only the championship's standout stars manage, and many F1 graduates never even reached those heights.

The Boy from Barbados took his testing form into the curtain-raising weekend and must now be one of the title favourites from this incredibly impressive F2 field.

Zane Maloney starred in Stake livery on the first weekend of the F2 season

Pepe Marti - A

Qualifying was the letdown for F2 rookie Pepe Marti, with a P11 start for both races, but the slim margins meant the gap from P1 to P18 (after Kush Maini's DSQ) was just 0.8s, so it's hardly a concern.

It's even less worrying when you consider the Spaniard advanced to the podium from the sixth row in both races, showing that his 2023 F3 campaign was no one-off success.

Whether it's a coincidence or a causality, his Campos team are in the ascendency with Marti in the cockpit and could be a teams' championship challenger in 2024.

READ MORE: Horner makes big announcement over Red Bull future

Paul Aron - A-

Perhaps it's too cliché to put the Feature Race podium trio as my top three, but you don't often see the same three names around those top positions in both races.

Paul Aron seemingly came from nowhere with his limited television coverage but similarly advanced through the order like Marti to grab a sizeable points haul from his maiden F2 round.

With Mercedes eyeing up a certain Italian driver for a rapid F1 graduation, Aron proved they could've had two horses in the F2 race this year had they not let him go.

Formula 3

Luke Browning - A

Whatever changed in Luke Browning's mentality before his trip to Macau last year is working a treat for the British hopeful.

The 22-year-old racer might be one of the oldest F3 drivers we've seen, but with a front-row start and the subsequent controlled Feature Race victory he achieved on Saturday, Browning is proving that his maturity is an asset.

Seeing what seemed like half of Williams' garage celebrating his win under the podium shows how much hope the team have in Browning, and he could have an F1 future with more weekends like this.

READ MORE: Horner in defiant stance with wife Geri after Verstappen win

Tim Tramnitz - A-

F3's rookies didn't have a new chassis to help them out as F2's newcomers did, yet the graduates exceeded expectations by turning in terrific performances.

Newcomers Arvid Lindblad and Laurens van Hoepen took to the podium in the Sprint with stellar drives, but Tim Tramnitz was the sole newbie taking silverware in the Feature Race, and he was in contention over all three days.

The class of '24 represents F3's best grid, and a lot of that talent is thanks to the likes of Tramnitz and his rookie peers who excelled in Sakhir.

Leonardo Fornaroli - B+

An under-the-radar performance from Leonardo Fornaroli didn't go unnoticed by my eyes, with the Italian showing restraint and speed in equal measure as he seeks to repeat old teammate Gabriel Bortoleto's title-winning ways.

Getting outqualified by your new teammates, even by the tiny 0.01s margin, isn't an ideal start, but Forna fought to the podium in the Sprint and kept out of trouble in the Feature, leaving Bahrain P4 in the standings.

It's that type of mature, patient driving that won Bortoleto the title, and I saw several returning racers opting for that strategy in both races; perhaps why we had the impossible situation of a Safety Car-free F3 weekend!

READ MORE: Journalist claims Horner ‘messages’ leaked from anonymous email account

Christian Mansell - Honourable Mention

It feels harsh not to have Christian Mansell in my top three after the Australian's sublime Saturday drive took him to P2 in the Feature Race.

His falling backwards in the Sprint didn't help his cause, but karma soon swung back to him after his dash to the F2 podium to celebrate his friend and ex-teammate Marti's Sprint Race P3.

It's already one of the most heartwarming moments of 2024 for me and a move that shows what a class act Mansell is on and off-track.

Jim's 2024 Ongoing rankings

It's a new season and a new start to the rankings, so get set for a lot of shaking up in the coming weeks as the season settles down.

Where else to begin than with Maloney on top, though? Unless he capitulates in Saudi, I can't see him dropping too far this month.

1. Zane Maloney - F2 (Rodin)

2. Pepe Marti - F2 (Campos)

3. Luke Browning - F3 (Hitech)

4. Paul Aron - F2 (Hitech)

5. Tim Tramnitz - F3 (MP Motorsport)

6. Leonardo Fornaroli - F3 (Trident)

7. Christian Mansell - F3 (ART)

8. Arvid Lindblad - F3 (PREMA)

9. Gabriel Bortoleto - F2 (Invicta)

10. Jak Crawford - F2 (DAMS)

READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: Horner allegations lost Red Bull 'MONTHS' of development claims Villeneuve


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