Théo Pourchaire narrowly missed out on a fourth podium of the year in the Yas Marina Feature Race after a brilliant drive on the alternate strategy from sixth to fourth. The Frenchman was caught off-guard by a surprise Felipe Drugovich overtake in the closing stages, but he says it’s one more thing he can learn from in the off-season.

Pourchaire was involved in a collision at the start of the Feature Race at Jeddah, and he admitted that his race starts weren’t as strong following the incident with Enzo Fittipaldi.

It’s an element of his driving he’s hoping to improve in general over the off-season, with confidence coming from further track time.

“Felipe overtook me at Turn 5, and I was not expecting that,” explained Pourchaire. “I expected the move at Turn 6 with the DRS, but he was a lot smarter than me. Congratulations to him on that move. I was a bit disappointed, but P4 was still a good job.

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Pourchaire finished fifth in the Drivers Championship
Pourchaire finished fifth in the Drivers' Championship

“It was a good race overall. Again, we had a bad start, but with what happened (in Jeddah), I was not confident (in Abu Dhabi) at the start. We will manage to improve that during the tests, but the race was good.

“The pace on the mediums was good. We tried the prime-option strategy and that was a good thing in the end, although unfortunately, we lacked a little bit of pace on the option tyres. It's a bit frustrating to finish P4, but at the same time, it was a good recovery.”

Finishing fifth in his rookie year of Formula 2, Pourchaire expects to be back for a second season. Remaining in Abu Dhabi for post-season testing, Pourchaire says the three-day stint will be the start of a gruelling winter training programme as he targets the title in 2022.

“I am feeling happy,” Pourchaire continued. “I am happy that the season has finished, even though it was not a very good end, but we will be back stronger. P5 in the Championship is amazing.

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Pourchaire finished fourth on Day 1 of post-season testing with ART
Pourchaire finished fourth on Day 1 of post-season testing with ART

“I was P3 in my first year of F4, I won ADAC F4 in my second year, I was vice-champion of F3 in the next, and now P5 in my first year of F2 - for me, that is amazing.”

As well as race starts, improvising his tyre management and Qualifying pace will also be on the agenda for Pourchaire during the off-season.

“I have learned a lot of things and we now have three days of post-season testing to improve, as well as three days of pre-season testing,” he said. “We will work a lot during the winter, and I will improve my starts. I will also improve my tyre management and my Quali pace.

“I can improve everything and that is a good thing. I feel more confident and every time I jump in the car, I learn new things. This weekend, I learned a new track and that is really difficult for me. Next year, I will know almost all of the tracks. It will be a new year.”