GLOUCESTERSHIRE'S Zak O’Sullivan made an impressive start to life in Formula 2 with two points finishes on the opening weekend of the season in Bahrain.

The 19-year-old, from Withington, near Cheltenham, took seventh in the opening sprint race on Friday and followed that up with an excellent fourth in Saturday’s feature race, having challenged for the podium places throughout.

O'Sullivan struggled with tyre life in his ART Grand Prix machine in comparison to his main rivals, denying him a chance to fight for a victory in the feature race which had looked on the cards after the opening exchanges.

However, the Williams Academy driver declared himself happy with the weekend and said he’d taken away plenty of learning to take to the next round.

O'Sullivan impressed in his first qualifying session in the championship, setting the seventh-quickest time and outpacing highly-rated team-mate Victor Martins by just over 0.1 seconds.

He made a superb start to the reversed-grid opener, climbing from fifth to third on the opening lap and running wheel-to-wheel with Martins before dropping in behind.

However, the alternate strategy of running the more durable but slower hard tyre saw O'Sullivan drop behind several cars on the softer rubber, eventually falling out of the points on lap 12.

Undeterred, O'Sullivan kept his tyres alive in the final laps to pass the slowing Enzo Fittipaldi, Martins and Dennis Hauger and take seventh place and two points at the flag.

The start of Saturday’s feature race followed a similar pattern for Zak, as another rocket start around the outside saw him move up to second and avoid a first-corner clash between Isack Hadjar and Gabriel Bortoleto.

He held second for most of the first stint before falling to third behind Pepe Marti before the pitstops. However, a well-executed stop from his pitcrew saw him jump back to second ahead of a second safety car of the race which neutralised the field.

Despite the optimal strategy, Zak’s ART Grand Prix machine continued to suffer with tyre life and he fell behind Marti and Paul Aron to drop off the podium in the final stages.

His racecraft enabled him to hold off Bortoleto’s Invicta Racing machine in a last-lap drag race to the flag and maintain fourth place.

"I’m pleased to finish my first weekend in Formula 2 with two solid points finish and have gained a lot of knowledge for the season ahead," said O'Sullivan after the race.

"It’s clear we struggled with tyre life in comparison to some of our rivals, so that’s something to look into and work on for the coming races.

"I’m pleased with how I raced and the team’s strategy, which enabled me to fight at the front in the feature race. At one stage it looked like we might be able to fight for the win, but it wasn’t to be.

"Nevertheless, both myself and the team have taken away lots of positives from the weekend and I’m looking forward to getting straight back on track this coming weekend.”

The Formula 2 circus swiftly moves on to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia this week (March 7-9) for rounds three and four of the new season.