THOUGHTS FROM DRUGOVICH, ILOTT AND DARUVALA
FIA Formula 2: Hello and welcome to the press conference with the top three finishers in today's FIA Formula 2 Feature Race here in Bahrain. We are joined by race winner Felipe Drugovich for MP Motorsport, in second place is Callum Ilott for UNI-Virtuosi, and third is Jehan Daruvala for Carlin. Felipe, congratulations. Your first Feature Race victory in Formula 2. What are your emotions right now?
Felipe Drugovich: I'm just extremely happy. After a run like Sochi, we didn't expect anything for this weekend. Coming into here with P2 in Quali, and then a race like this is just unbelievable for me. Also, three wins in the Championship in a rookie season is quite good I think. I'm really happy with it. I think that's just what I've learnt since Round 1. Every time just putting it together, improving a little bit more here and there, and that's the result.
FIA Formula 2: Experience is obviously helping a bit as we get later in the year but your tyre management, in both stints, was excellent. Was there something that's changed coming into this weekend that's helped you achieve that?
Felipe: As I told you, of course, I change the little things but it's just things you normally learn during the season. I think it's just putting everything together, trying to manage it in every stage of the stint. Also, there's the state of the track, where to push, where not to push and yeah, I think that's basically it.
FIA Formula 2: Congratulations, well done today. Callum, moving on to you. Starting from pole, I know you would have wanted victory, but Felipe looked like he just had too much pace today. How was the race from your perspective?
Callum Ilott: I got a good start and then into the first corner I braked a little bit too late. I just didn't get the right line, and Felipe got under me. Then he drove a great first stint, and I was trying to stay with him, but I think a combination of trying to stay to close to him and that killed my tyres. The prime tyre cars overtook me. I kind of let them past because it's better to not fight at this point. We decided to go for the earlier box, which I think was the best thing for me at the time. I had a really bad pitstop. The front left wasn't going on, so I lost quite a bit of time there. I came out of the box and the car felt amazing, so I just pushed and pushed to try and undercut Felipe. I just about managed it with a couple of mistakes from him. After that his fresher tyres just got the better of me. I held on from there. Jehan was fighting a lot, so that might it quite easy for me to just chill and hang on there. Overall, it was a great race from the team and a great race from Felipe as well.
FIA Formula 2: You mentioned Jehan holding on, but also the fact that you had to let the prime runners go. How difficult is that to do when one of them is your main title rival, and strategies are difference at that part of the race?
Callum: Part of me just wants to just send it straight in, but I can't do that! It's better to just wait and see what happens really. After having such an okay stint on the medium I was thinking that it would be so much better on the primes, and I was right. It was better not to sacrifice anything then and see what I could do on the primes.
FIA Formula 2: Well done today. Jehan, congratulations. Your first podium in Formula 2. What a performance in those closing laps, holding off Mick (Schumacher). Just how tense was that battle?
Jehan Daruvala: It got really close at the end, but honestly, I really wanted the podium because I haven't had one yet this year. At this stage of the Championship he has a lot more to lose than I have, so I was just being as aggressive as I could. We left each other just about enough room to get around. I knew that if I could just hang on a couple of laps more he'll also struggle at the end. He was on his option tyres, and hopefully they would start fading away.
FIA Formula 2: You showed plenty of flashes of this sort of performance during the year, but not always with the end result to match it. How pleased are you to take home a trophy finally?
Jehan: It feels good. I think in the last few rounds I can see I've been making progress. Even Sochi was a big step forward. It feels good. Just to sum up the race, similarly to Callum I struggled a lot on the option tyres compared to the prime guys around me. Once I got on to the primes I just did my own race and at the end it just worked out pretty well.
FIA Formula 2: Congratulations, well done today. Felipe just returning to you. You mentioned after the Qualifying session yesterday that you've often been quick over one lap but not always been able to maintain that across a Feature Race. How much does this result help your personal confidence?
Felipe: I think it helps a lot yeah. Every time we went into a Feature Race and there was something. Many times it was a pitstop and it didn't go well, or with tyre management and maybe I didn't do a perfect job. Also the starts were not there. I think this time we just got everything right, and that helps me a lot with confidence. I think it's now about carrying on to the next races, trying to do the same or even better. It should be fun.