Enzo Fittipaldi bounced back from a difficult Qualifying at Monza to score a podium in the Feature Race. The Brazilian fought hard against Ayumu Iwasa for the final podium position but, following a post-race exclusion for the DAMS driver, Fittipaldi was rewarded with a hard-earned podium.
While the Charouz Racing System driver wasn’t happy with his Sprint Race outing, finishing 12th and ending up outside of the points, Fittipaldi said that he was very satisfied with the comeback job he and the team put together.
An extensive sit down overnight with the engineers meant the car was transformed for Sunday at Monza, and he says it felt far better than the previous day, adding to the satisfaction of claiming his sixth podium of the season.
“I'm very happy with the result. Starting 15th is a difficult starting place for the race. In Qualifying we had a Red Flag when I was improving my lap for a top 10. Whilst Iwasa crashed in the last corner and thank God he was okay, it did obviously affect our Qualifying quite a bit since we weren’t able to improve. So we qualified 15th, and I knew I had to find my way back up and get points.
“The Sprint race was difficult to make some positions we were able to finish 12th and not in the points, our pace wasn’t great. So I knew what I had to do last night with my engineers, we sat down, we spoke, and we made the changes we needed to make to improve the balance of the car. And today we started 15th and finished third. We were flying out there today and our pace was rapid, it was great. We made the right changes to the car.
Iwasa’s defensive drive meant that Fittipaldi was glued to the DAMS’ rear wing for the majority of the race. The closest moment he had was a side-by-side attempt into Turn 1 but, unfortunately for the Brazilian, he had to back out of the pass.
Though it was a frustration to not get the move done on track, Fittipaldi is taking the positives out of a great drive. The pace improvements though from Saturday to Sunday is what he is most pleased about, along with another points scoring finish to take into the break ahead of Abu Dhabi.
“There was a time we went side by side into Turn 1, we were really close to having contact. I was attacking and that was the time that I had an opportunity to overtake him. But I had to back out of it so we wouldn’t crash. Then after that he improved his pace. Him and I had very similar pace towards the end. I think we were one of the fastest cars on track. It was difficult to overtake him because he improved the pace in the last eight laps, we were on him the whole race. So it is frustrating but at the end of the day, we're bringing home more points and that’s what matters.
The Formula 2 season doesn’t resume until November now, giving the drivers plenty of time to reset and refocus on their end-of-season goals. For Fittipaldi, that will unquestionably be finishing third in the Drivers’ Championship.
With another podium to add to his record in 2022, the Brazilian is tied on points with Jack Doohan and Jehan Daruvala, fourth, fifth and sixth in the Championship respectively. The trio are nine points further back from Logan Sargeant on 135, but with two races to go, anything can happen.
“The points today were very important. It keeps me in the mix for the top three in the Championship, so I'm very happy. I'm really looking forward to Abu Dhabi. I've been consecutively finishing top five in three of the last five race weekends in the Feature Race, so it's been really good. I think we're carrying good momentum. Now onto the last race in Abu Dhabi. We're only nine points behind Sargeant who's in third, so we’re in the mix for top three in the championship.”