Despite losing the lead of the Drivers’ Championship to Felipe Drugovich, Théo Pourchaire is focusing on the positives after securing fifth in the Sprint Race.
It was 26 laps of damage limitation for the ART Grand Prix driver in Barcelona. A disappointing launch from third saw him immediately get jumped by Jake Hughes off the line, before losing out to Jehan Daruvala and Jüri Vips - dropping down to seventh by the beginning of Lap 2.
However, the French driver was simply relieved to have survived the opening corners. Going deep into Turn 4, Pourchaire suffered a huge lock of oversteer, forcing him to fight to keep the car on track.
“I messed up at the start again, we’ll have to check why the initial start wasn’t good,” he said. “I wanted to recover quickly. I made two good overtakes in Turn 3, but then the line gets tighter and tighter due to Formula One (Qualifying prior to the F2 race). It was very dirty and I came into Turn 4 with the tyres completely gone.
“The car was sliding - I almost lost it! Fortunately, it was all fine. I lost some positions and the first two laps I had no grip. I thought I had an issue, but it was just the tyres that weren’t good anymore because of my line into Turns 3 and 4.”
As a result, Pourchaire found himself a sitting duck in a queue of cars, unable to overtake despite the Safety Car’s appearance early on. The exception was on Lap 21, as he and a horde of cars cleared their way past a fading Hughes.
“Unfortunately, when you are in a DRS train, it's difficult to do something. P5 - it's not too bad in the end, even though I wanted to win starting from P3.”
An up-and-down run of luck during the first three rounds means this is only Pourchaire’s fourth points-scoring finish in seven races. He now sits five points adrift of Drugovich in the Drivers’ Championship, but a better Qualifying performance gives him the advantage heading into today’s Feature Race.
Starting P7, he’ll line up three places ahead of his rival and Pourchaire is aware that this presents another perfect opportunity to secure a solid result, without letting himself get too carried away focusing on the title fight.
Yet the 18-year-old isn’t prepared to settle for points. He plans to stay sharp, as he’s got his eyes firmly set on the top step of the podium for the second Feature Race in a row.
"I have everything to win this race, even from P7. I did it in Imola!
"There could be some accident at the start or contact, we saw Jüri (Vips) make a mistake. It's very easy to lose the car, so I need to be better at the start.
“From there, we will try to do a good strategy because of the pit stop and add two good results. As for the championship - we will see it later in the year.”