Kiwi prodigy Liam Lawson has wasted no time making an impression at the next stage of motorsport pathway, winning his Formula Two debut at Sakhir, Bahrain.
Starting third on the grid for the 124km sprint race - a prelude to the weekend's 173km feature event - the Hitech Grand Prix racer executed a perfect start to take the early lead and then held it for most of the journey, repelling challenges from Frenchman Théo Pourchaire and Indian Jehan Daruvala.
"That was pretty awesome," says Lawson, 19. "Starting third, I had a pretty good start and led from that moment onwards.
"I had massive pressure from Jehan towards the end of the race and learned a lot. I’m excited to get into the night race later today."
Mentored by Kiwi motorsport legend Kenny Smith, Lawson has graduated to F2, after three years at Formula Three, where he finished fifth in the 2020 drivers' championship, with race victories at Austria, England and Italy.
"I think it will hit me a little bit more later on," says Lawson. "I am speechless at the moment, honestly.
"It's awesome to win races, but the end goal is the championship, so it's a good start, but it's a very long way to go."
Fellow Kiwi Marcus Armstrong was forced to withdraw early, with mechanical trouble.
Lawson could not take his winning ways into the day's second sprint race, forced to withdraw late, while in a podium position.
Formula Two is a stepping stone towards the ultimate in motorsport - Formula One.
Last year's championship was won by German Mick Schumacher - son of F1 legend Michael Schumacher - who will race for Haas during the 2021 F1 season.