The Drivers’ Championship has been wrapped up but there are still six drivers battling it out for honours as top rookie in 2022. Heading into the final round, we have split the contenders into two groups, those with the higher chance of securing P3 in the Championship and those that will require a little more luck to go their way at Yas Island.
Logan Sargeant currently leads his rivals, third in the Championship ahead of Jack Doohan and Enzo Fittipaldi, fourth and sixth respectively. The Carlin driver is fighting for a potential F1 future while Doohan and Fittipaldi look to put a bow on what has been a strong season for both for differing reasons.
But which driver will become the next recipient of the Anthoine Hubert Award as the top rookie in Formula 2?
Logan Sargeant- P3 – 135pts
Wins: 2 Poles: 2 Podiums: 4
Newly minted Williams F1 driver to-be (Super Licence pending), Logan Sargeant heads to Yas Marina as the favourite to take the top rookie award heading the chasing pack ahead of this weekend’s finale.
The Carlin driver looked like being a potential title contender for part of the season but fell out of the title picture as the season reached its latter stages.
With six retirements on his record this season, Sargeant is by no means guaranteed to stay his advantage following the chequered flag in the Feature Race come Sunday. The American has suffered five DNFs in the past nine races, something he will be desperate to prevent in Abu Dhabi.
READ MORE: Sargeant: FP1 debuts should give me an upper hand in Yas Marina season finale
He last drove at Yas Marina back in 2017 in the Formula 4 UAE Championship, though he will be getting extra track time in the form of FP1 in the Williams FW44 on Friday. Whether or not that additional mileage provides him with insights to take advantage of across the F2 weekend remains to be seen, but logging extra laps won’t hurt his chances either.
In fact, it’s something Sargeant believes will give him the best platform to wrap up P3 in the Championship. In pursuit of his F1 Super Licence, he has taken part in several FP1 sessions already, and feels that his staying active during the break between Monza and Yas Marina will only be advantageous this weekend.
Sargeant has finished outside of the top 10 just once all season when making the chequered flag, another positive for the Carlin man to take into the season finale. It’s a feat his closest competitors have failed to match. It bodes well then for him that a clean race at Yas Marina could secure the necessary points to become top F2 rookie in 2022.
Over a single lap, Sargeant’s form this year hasn’t been too bad either. He is one of only four repeat pole sitters throughout the current season, ranked joint third overall, tied with Jüri Vips on two apiece. Only Champion Drugovich (4) and rookie rival Jack Doohan (3) can claim more.
Sargeant has an average Qualifying position of 4.2 from the most recent five rounds. Should he find similar form here in the final round, his chances look strong to claim top rookie and the Anthoine Hubert Award.
Jack Doohan – P4 – 126pts Wins: 3 Poles: 3 Podiums: 6
Fresh from his F1 Free Practice outings with Alpine, Doohan is currently in the best form of the three frontrunners, taking two wins and a second place in the past four rounds. It’s a strong patch that has lifted the Australian from eighth in the Championship to fourth, establishing himself as a major contender along the way.
Similarly to Sargeant, Doohan has suffered the misfortune of three DNFs in the past five rounds, a major blow to his aspirations of achieving P2 in the Championship, but the Anthoine Hubert Award is still an attainable target.
READ MORE: Jack Doohan: My greatest influences
One of the Virtuosi Racing driver’s main strengths this year has been on Friday in Qualifying. Rapid over a single lap, he has three pole positions on account this year. Having looked so quick for much of the season, it might have been more. His Qualifying average over the past five rounds is identical to that of Sargeant’s: 4.2. Doohan did secure pole position last time out in Monza however, a suggestion that he might be back on top form in Qualifying.
Last season at Yas Marina, Doohan took part in just his second F2 round of his career. He finished Qualifying P2, two-tenths off 2021 Champion Oscar Piastri and finished P8 in the second Sprint Race that weekend. Eighth will be the high-water mark for him to beat in F2 machinery, with no other experience around the Yas circuit to speak of.
His experience from the front row didn’t go as planned. A brilliant first-lap tussle with Zhou Guanyu fell apart at Turn 10 and the Australian suffered an early exit after a spin out of the race. A repeat would be catastrophic for his hopes, but with three race wins on his ’22 record, he has the most of any of his rivals for top rookie.
Like Sargeant, he will be getting extra track time in the form of FP1 with Alpine. The extra hour could prove vital, with such limited running ahead of Qualifying.
Enzo Fittipaldi – P6 – 126pts Wins: 0 Poles: 0 Podiums: 6
What a turnaround it has been for Enzo Fittipaldi in 2022. Following his crash and injury last year in Jeddah, the Brazilian has returned to F2 and hit new heights this season. Six podiums throughout 2022 so far have been split evenly between three third and second places. That elusive first Formula 2 victory though continues to elude the Charouz Racing System driver.
After five-consecutive non-scoring results to open his account this year, things clicked into place around Imola as Fittipaldi earned a maiden podium with P2 in the Feature Race. That kickstarted a streak of five consecutive points finishes as he quickly compensated for the slow start.
That run was ended by a DNF in the Baku Sprint Race but since then, Fittipaldi has been out of the points on five occasions in the subsequent rounds since. As is the case with Doohan, the bulk of those non-scores has been in the most recent rounds. The area of most concern for Fittipaldi may well be the Sprint Races and the potential to lose a few vital points to his closest rivals. In the past three rounds, Fittipaldi has failed to score in the Saturday race, while Doohan and Sargeant have both been well placed to take advantage.
READ MORE: Fittipaldi ready for fight at the front to wrap up Rookie of the Year
The Budapest weekend was by far the Charouz driver’s strongest, with P3 in the Sprint Race followed up with P2 in the Feature. Since then though, Fittipaldi has fallen from fourth in the Championship to sixth, adding only 26 points to his tally in the three rounds since. Only Sargeant (16) and Ayumu Iwasa (24) have endured a poorer patch of form of those contending for top rookie.
Fittipaldi’s earlier consistency may have fallen away but the peaks have been higher, and the Monza weekend is a great example. As Doohan and Sargeant both suffered DNFs, the Brazilian was there to take advantage and capture a vital 15 points against his rivals, launching himself back into contention.
If Fittipaldi is to cap off his season with the Anthoine Hubert award, he will need to produce another one of his highlight weekends and round out the season with a podium. That could be tricky with an average Qualifying position of 10.8 in the past five rounds, though the Brazilian does have a habit of moving forward in the Feature Races.