Thoughts from Armstrong, Pourchaire & Doohan
FIA Formula 2: A very warm welcome to the top three finishers of the FIA Formula 2 Sprint Race here at the Red Bull Ring. In third place is Jack Doohan for Virtuosi Racing, in second place, Théo Pourchaire for ART Grand Prix, and taking his second victory of the 2022 season, our winner Marcus Armstrong for Hitech Grand Prix. Now, Marcus, that was a perfect afternoon for you and it's been a while since Imola, how good does this feel?
Marcus Armstrong: It feels really good and it's a relief, really. Obviously starting off pole in Austria is never the easiest, especially in F2. Anything can happen and the DRS is strong. So to win this race I needed to have a pace advantage and I pushed hard at the beginning to try and break the DRS. And afterwards, it was quite smooth sailing, I think. Luckily, we had that small pace delta to just be reasonably comfortable up front.
FIA Formula 2: Smooth sailing, you say but were there any dramas out there at all?
Armstrong: Maybe dramas inside my head, due to the fact that track limits are a factor here. I'm not entirely sure if you get a five-second penalty if you have three warnings, and I had two warnings. My engineer was probably very stressed on the pit wall by the sounds of it. So I was just sort of cruising, making sure I was inside everywhere and not making any mistakes. It was smooth sailing, but I think that I just needed to keep it inside the white lines.
FIA Formula 2: Were you able to relax at any point?
Armstrong: I think at one point, I did a reasonably good lap and saw that I sort of broke a bit of the gap to Théo so I thought that I could just sort of sit there for a bit until I needed to push again at the end. That was quite nice. It's not often you have that advantage.
FIA Formula 2: How much confidence does the pace of the car today give you going into the Feature Race tomorrow?
Armstrong: Well, I was confident before the race to be fair. I think that we did have pace, we always have pace in the races, it seems this car is very strong. Also, on this compound in Free Practice, we were very good as well. So I knew that we would have pace and tomorrow I think it's going to be interesting. It won't be a normal race. By the looks of it, it will be a bit wet. So it's going to be fun, chaos and catastrophe. I love it.
FIA Formula 2: Very well done today. Thank you, Marcus. Théo coming to you. That looked like a pressure race for you. Just how tough were those closing laps when Jack was right on your gearbox?
Théo Pourchaire: Well, it was not easy. I had a bit of oversteer so I went forward a lot with the brake bias. This means that in the end, I had quite a lot of front locking. I had one big front looking at Turn 3, it was a small mistake. I could keep my position but for sure the last few laps then I was under a bit of pressure from Jack. But in the end everything was fine and I know what to do for tomorrow. So that's good.
FIA Formula 2: Without having to defend from Jack, do you think you could have done anything about Marcus?
Pourchaire: I'm not so sure, because we were really close in terms of lap times but it's difficult to follow from Turn 6 to Turn 10 with the dirty air. He had a really good pace but yeah, why not? Why not? In the end, he was a bit slower, but I can understand because it was the last few laps. With the track limits, I was also scared to have a fourth track limit violation.
FIA Formula 2: Tell us a little bit more about the track limits. And how on edge is it around it?
Pourchaire: It's very, very difficult. Yesterday, I only had only the one track limit for the whole day, I was too safe and today I wanted to push the limits a bit more and I had three. It's tough because you need to push and the car is sliding and with tyre degradation, it's not easy. But it's a good challenge.
FIA Formula 2: Very well done to you and Jack coming to you now. Well done on your third podium of the season. You looked particularly racy in those closing laps?
Jack Doohan: I think we did a good race ourselves. It's good to be back here on the podium. I think the car was in quite a decent window. If it was a different situation there could have been a move possibly in T3 or T4 but I need to build consistency in my Championship and this is a good start. You know, I'm happy. Obviously, it's not big points so our focus will be tomorrow. I think we have a really strong package.
FIA Formula 2: How powerful was the DRS today?
Doohan: Not really, to be honest, because I went to see what we had with around six laps ago. I should have pushed more because I think I was only a couple hundredths away from the fastest lap of the race. Then Théo had an issue in Turn 3 so it made me get into the DRS range. Then from there, I wasn't wanting to have too big of a go unless I had a complete pace advantage to make a clean overtake. I was really kind of in a bad position because I wasn't completely pushing but staying in the DRS so it wasn't ideal for the tryes. Possibly if I went a little bit more aggressive, it could have been something but I think at that gap, you have to either push and make the overtake or don't at all.
FIA Formula 2: Very well done to you as well.