Thoughts from Piastri, Zhou and Drugovich
FIA Formula 2: Many congratulations to the top three finishers of the Feature Race, the season finale of the FIA Formula 2 Championship here at the Yas Marina Circuit. In third place, Felipe Drugovich for UNI-Virtuosi, in second place, Guanyu Zhou also for UNI-Virtuosi, and taking his sixth win of the season and his fourth Feature Race victory of the year, Oscar Piastri, for PREMA Racing. Oscar, the perfect way to end your Formula 2 career, well done. After making a great start, it all seemed to run very smoothly for you?
Oscar Piastri: It was quite under control for the whole race I would say, there was a point in the middle where I was struggling with the rear tyres quite a lot and Zhou caught me pretty quickly at that point. Then I managed to get it back under control, and controlled it to the end really. It wasn't that straightforward because I think Charouz released Samaia straight into my car in the pitlane before the race, so we had to do a front wing change on the grid and we didn't know if the car was going to be ok but clearly it was fine. The race itself was straightforward, but it almost didn't even start.
FIA Formula 2: There was an interesting split of strategies down the order, were you confident in yours with more than 20 laps on the medium?
Piastri: From the beginning, I always wanted to do that strategy, option, prime. It was more a case of what Robert was going to do and what Zhou was going to do because obviously, PREMA wanted to make sure that Robert and I were one and two in the Championship so Robert was going to be the priority for the pits. We weren't that confident that the tyres would last for seven laps, so it was a bit tricky. I think the Safety Car at the end played into our hands quite nicely, and the degradation wasn't as bad as I expected either. I was a bit concerned in the middle of the race that maybe the alternate strategy would be quicker, but I wanted to do the strategy that we ended up running from the beginning.
FIA Formula 2: Many congratulations Oscar, a great way to end the season for you. Guanyu, another tremendous race by you following on from your victory last night, and a great way to round out the season as well. Tell us how you feel about it.
Guanyu Zhou: To be honest before the race, my main target was to have a look at what Dan was doing, and also at what Robert was doing. Theoretically, I knew to get P2 was possible, but only if Robert had a DNF so not that realistic. So I followed along with what Ticktum was doing in order to cover him, rather than focus on the guys around me, but in the end, I was happy to go option. I knew it was going to be a long race. The race, to be honest, the first few laps were quite mental, the first few corners, the first few sectors. I knew he had nothing to lose, but with him starting on prime, I was expecting him to be a bit more cautious so he could think about the long term but that wasn't the case he tried to go straight into the side of my car multiple times which was a little bit dangerous for my Championship. After that, I was quite smoothly managing the tyres, tried to keep up with Oscar, but the moment I managed to get a close distance to him I started to get dirty air, so in the end, I was a little bit happier to keep a little more space during the race and see how the tyres were at the end. Not a lot of people had deg with the primes. Really happy for the team to finish P2 in the Championship and great to see Felipe here as well. That was one of the two targets, to finish top three and also to get the team up one more position.
FIA Formula 2: Guanyu well done, summed up beautifully. Felipe coming to you now, your second podium of the weekend and what a race for you from eighth to third. How pleased are you with this final performance of the year?
Felipe Drugovich: I'm very pleased! To be fair, I didn't expect to be here now, but I think the only downside of the weekend was Qualifying. I had the pace but then one of my laps got cancelled and the other one I had to be quite safe. We knew what we had to improve, but we knew the race pace was very good. Race 1 went really well and then this one we run the alternate strategy and it worked, at one point we thought it was going to be difficult to get into the top five but I got released into the top five after new tyres so I thought it could be very good, and the race was really good!
FIA Formula 2: Felipe you and Théo Pourchaire were battling very hard, do you think if you hadn't been tripping over each other you could have been challenging Oscar for the win?
Drugovich: Maybe not for the win, for sure we would have been closer to Zhou, but he finished four seconds in front. Maybe closer, maybe challenging Zhou but not enough for the win. Anyway, I was starting P8 so P3 is already a very good result.
FIA Formula 2: It certainly is, well done!