Callum Ilott will not be throwing the towel in ahead of the season finale on Sunday, citing the “up-and-down,” nature of Formula 2 as proof that he remains very much in the hunt for the Championship.
The race for the title may not be in his hands, with the UNI-Virtuosi racer requiring a 14-point swing in his favour to take the title away from the German, but he says he’ll be going into it with a “nothing to lose,” mentality.
“Under normal circumstances, it would be quite difficult to win the championship, not impossible, but difficult,” Ilott said. “This championship has been so up-and-down though, so we’ll see what happens.
“I’ve just got to keep in the fight and have the best race that I possibly can. If I do that, then there’s a possibility that it goes my way. Probably not, but we will see. I am going into it with nothing to lose, pretty much, and I will be looking to try and get the best result possible.”
Ilott kept himself in the hunt for the title by finishing one place in-front of Championship leader Mick Schumacher in the Feature Race on Saturday, though the German took the fastest lap.
Despite starting behind him in 11th, Ilott’s teammate Guanyu Zhou took second with a determined charge through the field on the alternate strategy. Whereas Ilott got stuck behind Jehan Daruvala for a period after his pitstop, which hindered his own chances of fighting towards the front and took a lot out of his tyres.
“I got a good start, and the first lap wasn’t too bad,” Ilott explained. “The first stint was okay, but I decided to box a bit earlier than planned. Overall, I don’t think it was too bad, but I was getting a bit too involved with the prime cars and I was on the option tyre at the time, so I wanted to relax a bit.
“I had a good pit stop and came out behind Jehan (Daruvala). I thought he was saving his tyres, so I kept it behind for a while, but then I realised that he was actually struggling. In the end, I had to overtake him slightly later than I wanted to. I made a bit of an error by not making the move earlier.
“That meant that in the last few laps I had push a bit harder to try and catch Robert (Shwartzman), but the tyres weren't completely there when I started to push. I ended up P6, but I don’t think that we went with the right strategy. Zhou showed how quick the (prime-option) could be. If I had gone for that, then I think I’d have had a better result, but it’s not bad and it’s still points.”