FIA Formula 2: Many congratulations to the top three finishers of Race 1 of the FIA Formula 2 Championship here at the Yas Marina Circuit. In third place, Oscar Piastri for PREMA, in second place, Felipe Drugovich for UNI-Virtuosi, and taking his second victory of the season, our winner, Jehan Daruvala for Carlin. Jehan, we will start with you, that was a brilliantly judged victory, well done. You controlled it throughout, how good does this feel?
Jehan Daruvala: I think it feels pretty good. Since Monza, we have had a slight turnaround in form, in terms of performance, but unfortunately in the last two rounds, Qualifying wasn't as strong as we had hoped. I finished quite well in Jeddah but didn't score any points, so it feels good to be back here and fighting at the front and on the top step. The race was good, I had one lap where me and Felipe battled quite hard. It was close but it was clean, and it was important for me to get out of the corner in front because it is a lot easier to manage the tyres in the lead. With seven, eight laps to go, I could see that he was really pushing to stay close, but he was struggling. From then on, I just tried to keep my tyres in a good window and got the car to the flag.
FIA Formula 2: Tell us a little bit more about that moment mid-race with Felipe. You were side-by-side for like four corners. Nervous moments in your cockpit?
Daruvala: In Turn 6, I actually locked up my front left and missed the corner a little bit. That was the best run that he had on me on the exit of Turn 7 and I just tried to make it really hard for him in Turn 9 and squeezed him all of the way to the white line on the inside to make the corner really hard. To be fair to him, we left each other just about enough room to get around the corner and it went just about all around the hotel, so it was pretty much side-by-side all of the way. Luckily, we kept the cars in one piece and we both got around in the same positions.
FIA Formula 2: I would like to bring Felipe in now. Can you give us your thoughts on what Jehan has just described in the middle of the race when you were going for the lead?
Felipe Drugovich: It was quite a hard battle, but as he said, it was clean. I think that when he locked up into Turn 6, I got a run into Turn 9 with him, but I think that I made the wrong choice going for the inside when I should have gone for the outside, but it is what it is. I tried to go for the inside and it wasn't enough. He was still there, and I couldn't go to the edge of the track. In the position I am in, I couldn't risk so much, I have had quite a few incidents this year and I just wanted to have a clean race. It was alright, the pace was good and I'm happy with the result.
FIA Formula 2: How did the tyres hold up Felipe? Very hot track temperatures in the middle of the day here in Abu Dhabi.
Drugovich: They held up alright I think, considering the temperatures. Obviously, they will always go drop quite a lot in performance, but I think that considering the temperatures, they were alright. At the beginning of the race, I think I had a little bit more, but controlling the race from the front, it is a lot easier to manage the tyres. I think I damaged them a little bit during the fight, so after that, I just brought the car home in second, there was nothing more that I could do.
FIA Formula 2: It was great to see you back on the podium, Felipe. Your first time back up there since Monaco, was it a bit of a relief? Just describe how that feels.
Drugovich: It feels quite weird to be fair, spending this much time without getting onto the podium. I think we've had the pace in some of the races, but in others, we didn't have any pace. I think we've had some issues this year and it hasn't gone the way I wanted, but that is life. It is good enough to stand on the podium in the last round.
FIA Formula 2: Coming to you, Oscar. We are going to talk about the Championship in a moment, but I am imagining that there is a big smile behind that face mask. Electrifying pace throughout that race, how good was your car?
Oscar Piastri: The car was really good the whole way through. I had a mega start and I think that I was in sixth after the first corner. Compared to the people around us, I think both me and Robert had some pace in hand, which was very nice. I could see that Robert was struggling a bit towards the end and once we caught up to Jehan and Felipe after they had their battle, I think Robert had maybe damaged his tyres a bit. I really only had that one chance to get past him. I'd had a half look a few laps before, but I was never really close enough and then on that lap, I think that I caught him a bit by surprise and made it stick. I am very happy to get from 10th to third.
FIA Formula 2: Given the Championship situation, it was quite a bold move, all the same, to go for the overtake?
Piastri: The way I was looking at it, I think that I had to score six points or something, so I was willing to risk it for that. I really wanted to get on the podium, because why not try and finish as high as you can. Also, I wanted to come back to the podium celebrations and celebrate with the team, so that was on my mind during the race. I really wanted to go for it, and I felt like I had the pace. At that stage, I felt that I could still move forward and maybe get Felipe, but we just didn't quite have enough laps or enough tyres left in the end.