Timing is everything and more often than not, being in the right place at the right time can decide a race or ruin one for a driver and team. But when the entire field is working from an even playing field, a single decision can be a greater difference-maker than usual.

So, for the second time in as many weekends, Enzo Fittipaldi and Van Amersfoort Racing pulled the strategy rabbit out of the hat for yet more points when things looked tough at lights out.

How did their decision to make an early pitstop on Lap 6 launch the Brazilian into points contention at Silverstone?


Before we get to the all-important decision Van Amersfoort and Fittipaldi made, we have to look at the Qualifying session that led to their predicament in the first place.

Over the triple-header, Fittipaldi has an average Qualifying position of 17th as the team looks to have fallen away over one lap from earlier in the campaign.

Speaking after the Spielberg weekend, the VAR driver confirmed that there was work to be done on their one-lap pace.

“We need to sort the car out for Qualifying and then we can be further up than we were today,” he confirmed on Sunday in Austria.

Their poor form is obviously exasperated with three quickfire rounds in succession, but the team has gone forward in every single Feature Race and convincingly so.

Once again, they played the strategy game to perfection, and Fittipaldi drove a smart race to maximise their chances of points in his own right.

Fittipaldi was one of the early stoppers at the Safety Car restart
Fittipaldi was one of the early stoppers at the Safety Car restart


After a wet Sprint Race, more rain clouds gathered above Silverstone prior to the Feature Race getting underway, but conditions remained dry.

Fittipaldi couldn’t make progress on the opening lap before the first Safety Car was deployed to recover a stranded Andrea Kimi Antonelli at Turn 3. But he was able to make up four places on the restart prior the second Safety Car period that opened up the strategic options.

With Joshua Duerksen’s AIX Racing car stuck in the gravel at Woodcote, the Safety Car lasted until the mandatory pitstop window opened up at the end of Lap 6, just as the Safety Car was withdrawn for the second resumption of racing, making the option of a pitstop less enticing as cars would be back to full racing speed rather than coasting behind the Safety Car, therefore limiting the usual pitstop time loss.

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Just two drivers elected to make their stops and switch to Hard tyres anyway, with Trident’s Richard Verschoor leading Fittipaldi in as the rest of the field rounded the Vale chicane to get back to green flag running.

Their stops went smoothly and were the two quickest pitstops of the race, with Verschoor’s time loss at 39.8s and Fittipaldi’s at 41.1s.

While the duration from pit entry to exit was only marginally quicker than the rest (the average pitstop time in the Silverstone Feature Race was 41.6s) it was the clear air and undercut advantage that proved to be most crucial to Fittipaldi’s race.

The Brazilian was able to avoid what was effectively another opening lap squabble for places as drivers fought hard for track position, he, on the other hand, now in free air was able to bring his tyres in and start making up time compared to those ahead.

This is where the advantage really was for Van Amersfoort rather than cutting down on time loss in the pitlane.

The strategy gamble paid off for VAR as Fittipaldi brought home more points once again
The strategy gamble paid off for VAR as Fittipaldi brought home more points once again


Back on track on the Hard compound tyres to the end, Fittipaldi set about closing down those yet to pit having emerged last of the remaining runners following the stop on Lap 6.

Laps in the low 1:44s dipped into the high 1:43s at times as the laps ticked by and after clearing Verschoor on Lap 20, he went quicker still as he lowered the pace to the mid-to-high 1:43s range. He was at times on a similar pace to Isack Hadjar and Victor Martins who were fighting for the effective race lead on the conventional strategy ahead.

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As those ahead made their stops and switch from Hard to Soft tyres, Fittipaldi was gradually bumped up the order and into the top 10 with six laps to go.

He stayed the course and was eventually promoted to P8 as the final stops were made and the strategy game played out, and he brought home two unlikely points for VAR after a difficult weekend for the team.

While there is no doubt that P8 is not the prize Fittipaldi or VAR are looking to fight for, it was yet another demonstration of the Brazilian’s F2 experience paying off as he guided himself into position to profit from unlikely range.