Few would have begrudged Luca Ghiotta the perfect send off as he gets set to depart Formula 2 after three seasons in the Championship. The likeable Italian leaves with two pole positions, nine podiums and five wins, the last of which coming in Sunday’s Sprint Race, in truly emphatic fashion.
Few drivers enjoy the luxury of departing on the back of a victory, but few drivers have had to fight and work like Ghiotto has during his time in the Championship – he’d earned a bit of personal glory.
That same work ethic, desire and willingness to fight was evident once more, in his final race. Starting from third on the reverse grid, after a frustrating Feature Race, he needed to battle ahead of both Nicholas Latifi and Giuliano Alesi in what he described, as key opening laps.
“I feel that the key point for me was to have a good start. I got past Nicholas straight away and I tried to not over-push as much as Giuliano Alesi was doing at the beginning.
“I think that the first two or three laps was where we won the race because these tyres are really, as we all know now after many years laughs, quite tough to manage. Sometimes the first laps are really where you can make the difference for the end of the race. Today feels like it was like that and I'm really happy to win the last race for me in F2.
“I knew that the car was good because even with the poor start in the Feature Race and brake issues that we had - we literally destroyed the first set of tyres locking up everywhere - we still finished sixth. I was surprised by that, so I knew the car was quick if we had a clean race.”
Having spent three years in F2, one in GP2 and one in GP3, Ghiotto has been a key member of the support event paddock for five years and departs with plenty of highs, all earned through that same sense of hard work and fighting spirit.
Yet, having never won a Championship, despite coming close, the Italian admits that there remains a lingering sense of ‘what if.’
“It's been a long journey,” he said. “I think these five years have really shaped me as the racing driver I am now. My first year in GP3 I can still easily say was my best year out of all five.
“The four years in F2 have been really tough, always there waiting for opportunities coming to me other than finding opportunities myself... Always changing teams every year. It's not been easy but at the end of the day we've always been there fighting.”
At 24-years-old, there is plenty of time for Ghiotto to win titles and accolades in other Championships, using the knowledge he has coined from his time in junior formula.
“You never stop learning,” he concluded. “I think even if you asked Lewis Hamilton if he's learned everything about motorsport, he'd probably say no even though he's won six world championships in F1. There are always things to learn. A big part of motorsport, of racing, and everything, I learned it from F2 and GP3.”