Although it’s “too early to say” whether he’ll return for a second full season of Formula 2 next year, Jüri Vips says that he’ll be “ecstatic” if he does, adding that he’s learned plenty of lessons that he could take into another season.

Finishing sixth with Hitech Grand Prix, Vips became the first driver to win twice in a single weekend in Round 2 at Monte Carlo and also scored four further podiums in what was an up-and-down campaign.

“I definitely hoped to be higher up, but the one thing for me was the reliability, which cost me a few positions in the championship,” said Vips. “And I think that in the last three rounds, our one-lap pace just wasn’t there, but we think we know what the issue is.

“We just didn't have the one-lap pace and that put us in a not so strong position for the Feature Races. That was one of the downsides. Earlier in the year, it wasn't such a big issue, but a combination of those two things affected us.

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Vips finished fifth on the morning of Day 2 and 10th in the afternoon
Vips finished fifth on the morning of Day 2 and 10th in the afternoon

“If we could have fixed those, then we could have been in a very strong position.”

The Estonian enjoyed a stellar period during the middle of the season, collecting four podiums from three rounds, between Monte Carlo and Silverstone, but finished the year with a DNF in each of the final four weekends due to a mixture of misfortune and mistakes.

Vips still managed to fight his way onto the podium twice during that period and feels that he’s come out of it as a better driver.

“It’s (helped) in terms of figuring out a few things for one lap, like how to work the tyres,” said Vips. “Depending on the compound, we are either fast or not fast - I don't think we are maximising every compound. I think that’s the biggest thing that, if I am here next year, we can take into it.

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Vips finished sixth in the 2021 Drivers Championship
Vips finished sixth in the 2021 Drivers' Championship

“There was one mistake in Saudi with the racecraft that I can definitely learn from, and I won’t be doing again too. Otherwise, it has been quite clean in the races. Earlier in the year, I could maybe have been slightly more aggressive at times, but generally, I have been quite okay.”

2021 was Vips’ first full season of racing since 2019, following a year spent largely on the side-lines due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which ruined his plans to race in Japanese Super Formula.

“Anything is better than last year,” added Vips. “It was very, very difficult sitting on the side-lines and watching everyone race. As soon as I knew that I was going to be on the grid this year I was just overwhelmed with happiness. If I get a seat next year, I will be ecstatic.”