At the start of 2020, Felipe Drugovich and MP Motorsport proved to be something of a surprise package in Formula 2, but two years on and their lead of the Drivers’ Championship will have surprised very few, with the Brazilian taking points from all four races.
The Dutch outfit re-signed the 21-year-old for 2022 after he spent a year with Virtuosi Racing, and Team Principal Sander Dorsman says he’s returned a more mature and experienced racer.
“When we were working on our driver line-up, he was at the top of our list for obvious reasons, so we were really happy to get him back with us,” said Dorsman. “I would say that Felipe has the same DNA and blood group as our team.
“I think that his mentality is the same as the teams’, he is down to earth, he has his feet on the ground, and he is good to work with. It has been really nice to have him back. We know each other well and the match worked well in 2020.
“He is more mature and more experienced, and that is always a good thing in a championship like this. Saying that, in his first F2 weekend in 2020, he won a race, so he didn’t need experience then! Of course, it helps, but as a person, his way of working hasn't particularly changed.”
After taking an emphatic late pole in Qualifying at Jeddah, Drugovich charged from 10th to third in the Sprint Race, before putting on a controlled performance to win from first in the Feature Race. It was the Brazilian’s first victory since the 2020 season finale at Sakhir.
With previous championship leader Liam Lawson retiring from the race due to a mishap in his pitstop, Drugovich was able to climb to the top of the leaderboard and take an 11-point lead over the New Zealander.
“He put on a really mature performance on Sunday,” Dorsman continued. “He was in control, he raced well and the pitstop was clean. Saturday was also very good - he only had a limited number of laps because of the lengthy Safety Cars periods and yet he still managed to come from P10 to P3.
“It shows that he has got both sides: he can come through the field smartly and bring his car home cleanly, and he can also defend from the front. He had the full package at the weekend.
“The Quali wasn't great in Bahrain, but we managed to grab some points and that is always crucial.”
Despite their success so far, with MP Motorsport also second in the Teams’ Championship, Dorsman wouldn’t be drawn into any title talk, insisting that they have plenty to improve on at testing in Barcelona on April 12-14.
“We are not outspoken about that - our feet are on the ground,” he asserted. “It is very early in the season, and we are just taking things race-by-race.
“You never know what is going to happen. For example, look at what happened in the Feature Race with Liam Lawson - you can be on a really good streak and then suddenly something happens. So far, he (Drugovich) has had a good start., but we will see.
“It was nice to have a good weekend, but it won’t change our focus. We are looking ahead to the testing days at Barcelona now. We feel we've got plenty to improve on and we will keep on improving - that is our aim.”