Thoughts from Vesti, Fittipaldi and Verschoor.

FIA Formula 2: Many congratulations to the top three finishers of the FIA Formula 2 Sprint Race here in Yas Marina. In third place, Richard Verschoor from Van Amersfoort Racing, in second place Enzo Fittipaldi from Rodin Carlin and taking his sixth win of the season, our winner, Frederik Vesti from PREMA Racing. Fred, a fantastic race, aggressive, defensive when you needed to be, how satisfying was this win?

Frederik Vesti: Honestly, from a pure racer perspective this win was brilliant from my side. Obviously, we all love racing here and I think it was really, really good racing from the first lap all the way until five laps to go. Really enjoyed that one. The bigger picture of course, coming to this weekend I knew I had to do something very special and winning this Sprint Race was the first part of that. I still have a big job to do tomorrow to try to go for this Championship, but the first job is completed today.

FIA Formula 2: What was your attitude coming into the race? Was it the gloves are off I’m going to be really aggressive from the get-go?

Vesti: If I want the chance to fight for the Championship tomorrow, I need a good race today, I couldn’t just risk it all and crash on Lap 1. On the other hand, I need to push the maximum to get that win, even the fastest lap for that one point. It all counts, and we managed to do that in style today.

FIA Formula 2: You say you didn’t want to risk it all but talk us through the opening lap. From the outside at least, it was very exciting.

Vesti: It was a bit too exciting in the car I think. I was a bit too conservative into T1, I felt like I had a really good start and sort of took back the lead. We were side-by-side into T1. I kind of went for a move into T5 and then I think Enzo had a little moment, I had to correct as well. I went down the back straight P1 and I exited T7 in P4. So very eventful, cool racing and I’m just happy to fight back.

FIA Formula 2: Well, you went from P4 to P1, tomorrow in the Feature Race you are starting ninth . You’ve proved today you can move through, so what is the approach for the final race of the season tomorrow?

Vesti: I was really pleased today with the car because obviously yesterday I think we were lacking a bit of pace. My theoretical lap time was good enough for P4 yesterday in Quali, but I had a mistake. Today the car was really good, much better than I actually expected it to be so that’s very good for tomorrow. Hopefully it is similar conditions, and we can go for it. Starting P9, obviously the challenge is bigger but also the race is longer and with the pit stop a lot of things can happen.

FIA Formula 2: Best of luck with that, well done today, thank you. Enzo coming to you, are you feeling frustrated? Tell us how it was in that race. You led for most of it, just until the end, what were the issues at the end?

Enzo Fittipaldi: Yeah, I think I would say I am frustrated; I wanted the win, and I really did give it my best. Just at the end with five or six laps to go we just started dropping off a lot, struggling with brake temps and struggling on the braking. I saw Vesti was catching me a lot. When he went for the move, I think I was over a bump or something on the middle of the track. As soon as I broke, and I locked my front right I got a massive flat spot and that’s why I dropped off a lot more than I would have in the last couple of laps. My tyre was like a square. It was a crazy race; I think I did a decent start from my side, but Fred had a really good start. I was able to keep it around the outside. I think we were clean between me and him, he went for a move at T4, and I think I ended up falling back third or fourth. Then I went all in to T6, overtook a couple of cars and was in the lead out of Turn 6. My first laps of the race, the first 10, 12 laps I was able to create a good gap but then just struggles a lot in the last five laps.

FIA Formula 2: How pleased were you with your car today? Fred has just said, his was really good. Are you going to make some changes overnight before the Feature Race?

Fittipaldi: I think we probably will, I mean we were really fast in the first 60, 70 percent of the race. The little details make a big difference, so we are going to make some changes. We need to I think, make some little changes to improve our pace at the end of a race stint. I would say maybe as well from my side I was a little too aggressive in the first couple of laps, trying to build the gap and break the DRS – which I did. We will analyse and see what we can do to improve for tomorrow.

FIA Formula 2: How important is it for you to end the season on a high tomorrow?

Fittipaldi: I think it is very important, I mean for everyone that is racing tomorrow it is always good to end the season on a high. I will be starting in 10th and as we saw today you can make a lot of moves, like Vesti did, if you have the pace. I am sure it is going to be a very eventful race, with strategy as well tomorrow. We saw last year that Doohan doing the prime option strategy really worked out. I think there will be a lot of drivers on different strategies, and it will be very interesting to see how it plans out.

FIA Formula 2: Thanks Enzo, well done today, good luck tomorrow. Richard coming to you now. You were right at the sharp end all afternoon, are you frustrated to be third given the pace?

Richard Verschoor: I don’t think we had the pace of Fred so the win for sure wasn’t possible. I lost quite a bit of ground after actually taking the lead for a short while, before they all took it back, but I think we were not quick enough to win, but maybe second place would have been possible. So not frustrated, I think it was really nice for me and also for the team to be in the last weekend of Formula 2, me together with the team to score a podium, so I am happy for the team as well.

FIA Formula 2: Let’s throw it forward to tomorrow. What did you learn in today’s race that will help you in the Feature?

Verschoor: I shouldn’t give away too much, but I think there are a few areas where we can improve to get it the final step to attack a bit more. I think already the pace was quite good but one or two tenths a lap will be nice.

FIA Formula 2: Final one from me Richard. It is your third podium of the season; how would you sum up 2023?

Verschoor: From my perspective it was too much up and down. I am not really happy with all the weekends, but for sure we had some good moments. There’s something that for a possible next season should be improved.

FIA Formula 2: Alright a very well done to you, good luck in the Feature Race tomorrow.