Formula 2 Championship leader Felipe Drugovich says he will be taking the same approach to the Monza weekend as he has done at every single round this season. The MP Motorsport driver has one hand on the trophy but insists there will be no change in his style, even if just a handful of points would see him crowned 2022 Drivers’ Champion.
While the Brazilian is keeping a level head, the confidence within the MP team has continued to build since the conclusion of the summer break. Back-to-back podiums in Feature Race, including victory last time out on Sunday, has left the rest trailing in his wake.
He heads into the weekend expecting to carry on the current form from the past two weekends, fighting at the front for race victories and ultimately, the 2022 crown.
“It could be quite a special weekend for us. We’re trying to close out the Championship and things are looking good. We have had two great weekends at Spa and Zandvoort, so the feeling is very great in the team. We’ve been able to get the job done for the past few races so hopefully we can do the same thing again.
“Zandvoort was great for the Teams’ Championship but also because it was the team’s home race. To manage to do the job there was really, really nice to be able to do that. We’re aiming to keep that form here.”
Monza presents an entirely different challenge to the teams and drivers this weekend than what they faced a week ago in the Netherlands. Zandvoort’s tight and twisty layout is the opposite to that of the Temple of Speed.
It’s the type of circuit that doesn’t entirely suit the MP team according to Drugovich, but that doesn’t dampen his expectations in the slightest.
The track characteristics also means that overtaking will be much more straightforward than at Zandvoort, meaning that Qualifying won’t be as critical to a driver’s chances this weekend. That is a plus point but doesn’t mean Friday’s grid-setting session is inconsequential.
“The closest we can relate to here is Baku, long straights, slow corners. Maybe it hasn’t been the best type of track for us, but we got the job done there as well so can take that experience and what we did there and hopefully improve for here.
“We’re still going to try and be on pole, same as everyone. But of course, it’s much less important than Zandvoort, you can overtake and pass if you have the pace. At the same time, it’s always quite risky to start in the middle of the pack, so you always try to gamble and start at the front.
“I think we need to see what the car is feeling like during Free Practice. It’s a very, very different track to Zandvoort. If we can have a good pace and start to work from there. If you start in Practice with a not so good of a base, it’s quite difficult to catch back up. If we can get a good Practice, understand a little bit of what the car is doing, we should be fine.”
With eight points enough to crown Drugovich champion by the end of Saturday, a top-two finish in the Sprint Race would be enough to see him over the line. He has ended up outside of the top five on a Saturday just twice this year.
While a top five by itself wouldn’t seal the job, it would mean that Sunday’s Feature Race would almost certainly decide the Championship, yet despite that prospect, Drugovich insists that his racing style won’t be changing.
“It’s nice to know that I have two races to do it but the approach I need to have is the same as every race. We’ll do a few calculations and see what is enough to get it, but the mentality will be the same.
“Coming back from the summer break, there was a bit of pressure. It looked like Théo (Pourchaire) was coming good throughout July. The break came at the right time for us, we regrouped and came back a lot stronger. More recently, it’s been more fun and quite good.”