In the midst of his second Formula 2 campaign, Hitech Grand Prix’s Jüri Vips is the latest to look back on the experiences that helped shape the driver he is today.

Turning a hobby into a career, proving that consistency is truly key and the pain of missing out on the top step of the podium, Vips reflected on the three key moments from his journey so far.


“I was kind of doing it as a hobby before but that's when my family and I decided to commit to motorsport. It felt amazing because before we were just doing karting as a hobby. It was all fun, but after I won that, I kind of realised that there might be a career here. It’s definitely one of the key moments that got me here because essentially that’s when we decided that ‘okay we’re going to try with this’.

“There are always little bits that you learn here and there from karting, you learn some of the very basics through racing. That year in particular, I guess the main thing that we took away from it was that I was probably good enough to have a career in motorsport because we weren’t taking it too seriously before, but when I started winning things in Europe and the World Championship, we decided to commit.”

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“That was the next step, stepping up into cars. I was racing in the strongest Formula 4 Championship at the time, which I won. I guess the F4 title sort of helped bring me onto the map.

“It was tough, it’s tough for everyone because it’s a completely different way of driving. A kart weighs about 80-90 kilos and an F4 weighs over 500 kilos, so it’s a completely different way of driving that you have to get used to. I think the transition was pretty good. I feel I went a little bit too early; I was a bit too young when I did my first season. The first part of the year, we were always quick, but I was just too immature and kept crashing and doing silly things. Then the second half of the first year in F4 was already very good and then the second year we won.

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“The whole last round was just crazy! The top three in the Championship went into it with pretty equal points, I think there was probably like three or four points between us. My teammate (Marcus Armstrong) was one of the people that I was fighting for the Championship with, but then there was another driver from another team (Felipe Drugovich) and that weekend for some reason we were just really, really slow in Qualifying. The other Championship contender I think was second, so we thought it was over and still we somehow managed to win. It was a very, very intense final round!

“The biggest lesson I learnt was consistency because that’s what sort of my Championship charge was based on. We weren’t the fastest that year but on race pace we were quick, and I think we were much cleverer than the other Championship contenders on how we fought. We always kept on scoring points, points and points and that’s ultimately what won us the Championship.”

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“The most satisfying was the track record and pole in Macau in 2019. Anyone that’s driven on the track says it’s the toughest they’ve driven on. It's one of those places - if it was part of a Championship, it would be 25 points for a win and so on but it’s just bigger than that. It’s the same as like winning Monaco in Formula 1 or winning at Monza as a Ferrari driver, it has a different kind of vibe to it.

“Getting pole there with the margin I had to P2 was very special. It was the second time I was in Macau. The previous time was with the older generation of Formula 3 cars. The first time I was really, really excited because it’s such a crazy track and it was also scary. When it’s your second time there, you know the limits already but it’s with a completely different car, so that was the only focus I had going into the weekend. There was still the same excitement because it’s Macau, but the first time was a little bit more special.

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“To be honest, I had absolutely no idea because in the F3 season that year we were pole, P20, P15, pole. It was very up and down so I didn’t know what to expect. I knew that it was probably a track that suited me, but there was no guarantee that I was going to do well. I was just hoping that the car was good, and the car was very good.

“The weekend as a whole was quite painful because I lost the win in the end and I was quite frustrated about that. The pole was very special, but to not win it after being the fastest all weekend, it was very annoying. All these hard moments make you tougher as a driver and sort of fill you up.”