It was two in two for Franco Colapinto as the MP Motorsport driver added his second P2 Feature Race result in seven days. The Argentinian driver made the alternative strategy work to great effect, making a late-race surge through the top positions en route to second.

While the main action in his race took place in the closing laps with his overtakes on Josep María Martí and title contenders Paul Aron, Isack Hadjar, it was his work at the very start that put him on the path to the podium. Here is how Colapinto earned his third podium in four race weekends.


In the team debriefs following the Sprint, MP Motorsport determined what strategies their drivers would run. Going from first and fourth on the grid, it meant that both would be occupying similar track position and that largely determined the Williams Driver Academy talent’s Sunday.

“I think we chose a risky strategy, and it paid off,” Colapinto said in the post-Feature Race Press Conference on Sunday. “Dennis was starting on Options, and I just chose the opposite strategy to him otherwise I was going to be boxing on the same lap or we would be blocked as we were starting close together on the grid.”

From that decision, Colapinto was locked into using the Soft compound Pirelli tyres, putting him in a position where he’d need to take the red-walled tyres as far as possible into the Feature without losing too much time to those on the conventional Option-Prime strategy. And he did a fine job of it.


Colapinto hit the tyres hard in the early laps but settled into a rhythm that paid off by the end
Colapinto hit the tyres hard in the early laps but settled into a rhythm that paid off by the end

Hauger’s stall off the grid on the Formation Lap put one less car ahead of Colapinto, and once he cleared the AIX Racing car of Joshua Duerksen, he settled into a rhythm that others couldn’t keep up with.

The Lap 7 Virtual Safety Car preceded the pitstop phase of the race and after then-leader Gabriel Bortoleto boxed for Softs, Colapinto assumed lead. Between Lap 8 and Lap 31, Colapinto was consistently lapping in the 1:19s, only dipping into the 1:20s on the lap preceding his pitstop on Lap 32.

From around Lap 19 through to his stop, Colapinto’s times were comparable and, at times, even quicker than Bortoleto following the Invicta driver’s mandatory stop, despite the disparity in tyre life. In the meantime, he’d built a 17-second lead over Amaury Cordeel in the Hitech Pulse-Eight, the next driver in the pack on the same strategy.

READ MORE: Franco Colapinto to drive for Williams in FP1 at British Grand Prix

The gap to the Invicta Racing driver was 29.3s following Bortoleto’s stop on Lap 8 and was at 22.9s when Colapinto finally came in for Supersofts on Lap 32. By limiting his loss to Bortoleto to just 6.4s with consistent laptimes and excellent tyre management, Colapinto came back out 10.4s off the leader and 7s behind the final podium spot, then occupied by Martí.

MP Team Manager Jeremy Cotterill paid tribute to his driver’s efforts, praising his ability to manage the race out front with just the information fed to him from his engineer.

“Today, he managed the tyres perfectly, had no one to gauge it off, yet he was able to do it. He and his engineer were able to put it all together and strategise on what they needed to do and what they could do maximise it. And all that comes with understanding and experience.”


The MP drivers hard work paid off in the end with a second consecutive Feature Race podium
The MP driver's hard work paid off in the end with a second consecutive Feature Race podium

Feeding back out on track in eighth position behind Enzo Fittipaldi in the Van Amersfoort Racing car, Colapinto had eight laps to fight his way through the drivers ahead to secure a strong result.

With the tyres fired up on Lap 34, he cleared Duerksen into Turn 3 on Lap 35, passed Fittipaldi one corner later to move himself into the top five, both moves made to stick at the first proper opportunity.

A 3.4s gap to Aron was wiped out by the end of Lap 37 and he cleared the Estonian at Turn 4 on Lap 38 with a decisive move and remained in DRS range of Martí ahead going onto the penultimate lap.

Once again, he waited for Turn 4 to pass the Spaniard, and went on to overtake Hadjar at Turn 3 on the final tour to earn second place.

READ MORE: Cotterill: MP Motorsport left with mixed feelings after ‘bittersweet’ Spielberg weekend

He wound up just over four seconds behind Bortoleto at the chequered flag.

“I tried to maximise what we had. I had to start on the harder tyres, that was the Softs, and put the Supersoft on at the end, but in the end it worked well,” he summarised afterwards. “I used a bit too much of the Soft at the beginning of the race. I think I struggled a little bit on the tyres in the first five laps pushing too hard.

“That hurt me a bit in the second part of the stint on the Soft tyre, but I’m still happy. We made a good step after yesterday and I had confidence. We found stuff yesterday night and we worked on those little details, and I had really good pace. On Primes I was fast.”