CEO Bruno Michel looks back at an enthralling fifth round of the 2022 Formula 2 season and picks out his key topics from Monte Carlo.
Michel discusses Felipe Drugovich and Théo Pourchaire’s duel for the title, PREMA Racing’s return to form and the bevy of talented drivers set to give the frontrunners a run for their money.
DRUGOVICH vs POURCHAIRE
Since the start of the season, two men have emerged as the leaders of the pack, with Felipe Drugovich currently top of the Drivers’ Championship, 32 points ahead of Théo Pourchaire. Coming into Monaco, the Frenchman felt a bit of pressure on his shoulders after having outrageously dominated around the same track in 2021. A lot of people were expecting him to produce another stellar performance on the streets of Monaco this year. But it was title rival Drugovich who eventually clinched pole position whilst Pourchaire had to settle for P2.
In the Sprint Race, we saw mixed fortunes for both men, with the Frenchman lining up in ninth and going on to finish sixth at the flag. Meanwhile, it was a pointless race for the Brazilian who earned his first DNF of the campaign, thus ending his streak of scoring points in every single race this season.
READ MORE: Drugovich's Guest Column: We surprised ourselves with winning pace
The following day, Drugovich got off the line perfectly to keep the lead ahead of Pourchaire. He sustained race-long pressure from the ART Grand Prix man, yet he made no mistakes to clinch another victory – his fourth in 2022. Pourchaire crossed the line an exhausted man, having given his all to try and pass his MP Motorsport rival. Their fight was riveting and exhilarating to watch!
Looking at this year’s results, it’s worth noting that the pair have shared top honours in all five Feature Races up until this point – Drugovich earning 3 victories whilst Pourchaire has won two. It’s no wonder they are slowly breaking away from the rest of the pack at the top of the Standings…
It’s been a season of ups and downs for reigning Teams’ Champions PREMA Racing so far, with a total of only 4 podium finishes coming into Monaco – three for Jehan Daruvala and one for Dennis Hauger. However, they looked mighty strong again in Saturday’s Sprint Race. Hauger led his teammate for all 30 laps in a commanding fashion to take a maiden and long-awaited F2 victory, and the team achieved its first 1-2 of the season.
Sunday was a case of “what could have been” with Hauger electing to go with the Option/Prime strategy, which looked to be the best one until the first Safety Car period ruined his chances to fight for another podium, or even another win?
READ MORE: Hauger rues unlucky Feature Race as he targets Qualifying improvements
ON THE UPWARD SLOPE
Since Imola’s Feature Race, Enzo Fittipaldi has been in the mix for points, showing great consistency and pace in both Qualifying and the races. During what was his first Monaco race weekend, the Brazilian Charouz Racing System driver finished fourth and fifth, adding 15 points to his tally and moving up to seventh in the Championship.
His rookie teammate, Cem Bölükbasi is still looking for his maiden points, but he showed some skills in Monaco last weekend, moving from P18 to P12 in the Sprint Race, and from P20 to P11 in the Feature Race. It will be interesting to see if he can finish in the points as soon as Baku in less than two weeks’ time.
READ MORE: ‘Every race we're catching up to the front pack’: Bölükbasi delighted after best-ever F2 result
Meanwhile, Virtuosi Racing appear to be on the mend after a challenging start to their season. Following Jack Doohan’s P2 in the Barcelona Feature Race, the British squad has taken another 16 points in Monaco to move up from tenth to sixth in the Teams’ Championship. There are nine rounds left in the season, so if they can keep this trend going, they could chase the Top 3.
A POOL OF MANY TALENTS
There are just 11 points covering Jehan Daruvala in third and Enzo Fittipaldi in seventh in the Drivers’ Championship. Marcus Armstrong, Jüri Vips and Jack Doohan are sandwiched in between P3 and P7, all of whom have at least one rostrum to their names in 2022. As I said, there are still nine events left – eighteen races to go - until the end of the season. The top seven should also look into their rear mirrors, as their rivals aren’t too far behind and are eager to overtake them. I would not be surprised if the order in the standings changed many times before the summer break.