As the only driver to break the 1m 28s barrier in Barcelona, Felipe Drugovich demonstrated his devastating one-lap pace in testing, ahead of Round 2 in Monaco, where Qualifying is crucial.

Taking pole from eight of the twelve rounds in 2020, UNI-Virtuosi’s Qualifying pace was unrivalled last season, and the team have started on a similar footing this year with Guanyu Zhou snapping up pole in Round 1 and new recruit Drugovich sealing P3.

Asked for the team’s secret around one lap, Drugovich laughed “it’s just fast,” before going on to hail the car Virtuosi handed him upon arrival.

“It is just a very, very good car for Quali,” Drugovich said. “Obviously, it is great in the races as well, but it is really good in Quali.

“The team did a great job last year with Zhou and Callum (Ilott) to get the car set-up well in Quali, so I basically entered the team, and the car was already good in that sense, which is always nice. I think it is just down to the experience that the team have from working together over the years.

Up until the Barcelona test Drugovich had only driven around Bahrain with Virtuosi
Up until the Barcelona test, Drugovich had only driven around Bahrain with Virtuosi

“It is always good to finish a session in P1 - testing or not - and know that we have the potential to be up there, so I am really, really pleased. We need to try and do the same, or even better, in Monaco, although we know that no track is similar to Monaco. I have never driven there before, so I will try and learn the track as quickly as possible in Free Practice, but I am confident that the car is doing what I want it to.”

Having only driven the Virtuosi around the Bahrain International Circuit up until this point, Drugovich was delighted to discover the machinery was just as formidable around Barcelona.

After some tinkering and testing over the course of the three-days, the Brazilian also feels that it is now much more suited to his own personal driving style.

“Driving on another track, I think it gives us a whole different story,” explained Drugovich. “We have looked to make the car closer to my driving style, but that obviously takes a little bit of time, especially when you have only driven on one track.

Drugovich feels that the Virtuosi car is now much more suited to his own driving style
Drugovich feels that the Virtuosi car is now much more suited to his own driving style

“Since joining the team, we have just driven in Bahrain and Bahrain and Bahrain and Bahrain and Bahrain... so it was nice to come to a different track, try some things out and show that the car is quick here as well.

“Driving in Barcelona, we could see what direction we have to go in with the car to make it cope better with my style. I think it is closer to my style now than when I first arrived, and I am also more used to it as well.”