A first Formula 2 victory was never a matter of if, but when for Enzo Fittipaldi. Seizing the day in the Sprint Race, the Rodin Carlin driver mastered the waiting game and pounced when it mattered to stand on the top step of the podium for the first time at Spa-Francorchamps.
Follow the Brazilian’s thoughts throughout a soggy visit to the Belgian circuit. Not even the weather could dampen Fittipaldi’s spirits as he became the Championship’s 43rd different winner and capped off his strongest weekend of the season with more silverware in the Feature Race.
“It was hard, definitely a challenging session. We weren’t sure how many laps we could do because we only have three sets of wet tyres for the whole weekend. So, we were trying not to do so many laps on the wets to not destroy our set that we had. We had good pace in the wet, we were in the top six and we’re confident going into Qualifying.
“The biggest learning point for me is going into Qualifying open minded because it could be wet or dry, we’re not sure.”
“Obviously I wanted a lot more than P8. We had gone out and unfortunately, I got overtaken by three cars out of the pits and I dropped to eighth in track position. Basically, whoever got to the line first had the driest track in Sector 2 and that was the order. Obviously very unlucky for the drivers who were at the back of the pits because when I came through there, it was properly wet. So, I’m happy to qualify eighth because of the tricky conditions, but obviously if I had not gotten overtaken out of the pits, I would have been higher up in track position and my Qualifying would have been better.
“Without the Red Flag, definitely it would have been a lot more open in Qualifying. I think for the whole field, everyone would at least have gotten a lap in the full dry. It is what it is, sometimes you’re on the right side of things and sometimes you’re not.”
“It was great, we had a decent start from P3. Then, I thought I had Richard (Verschoor) and I got a bit eager on the power, picked up some wheel spin and (Dennis) Hauger put it up the inside of me into Turn 1. Luckily, I was able to defend my position and hold P3. In the first five laps we were struggling a bit, we were under attack from (Théo) Pourchaire.
“But then I was able to find pace and conserve my tyres from the middle of the race to push in the last six laps. I was able to do a nice manoeuvre on Richard into Turn 5 to take the lead and bring home the win!”
“Probably from the middle of the race I knew the fight for the win was on. I saw Richard struggle and I knew I had the pace in me. I knew that this was it, this was my shot and I need to push now to try and get it. It’s very satisfying. It was very difficult because the slipstreaming into Turn 5 was not big for some reason. It was not a big slipstream even with DRS, so I knew I had to do Eau Rouge flat or nearly flat when I was super close to him. I was able to do it almost flat and I was flat when I was up on him to have a good run and be close enough out of Eau Rouge to get a nice overtake into Turn 5.
“Anything’s possible! I think Spa is a track where you can make a lot of overtakes. So, my goal tomorrow is to make up positions and hopefully come home with a top five. Maybe a podium – we’ll see. To have a good start is the most important.”
“We had a great Feature Race I had a really good start off the line going from eighth to fourth just after Turn 1. Then from there, I was already attacking the car ahead of me, which was my teammate for P3. I was able to get the move done and then around Lap 6 to 7, I started chasing down the leaders. We pitted around Lap 14 and we didn’t have a great pit stop. We tried to do the overcut as well, which didn’t work out and I ended up losing places to (Victor) Martins, Zane (Maloney) and (Jack) Doohan and fell back to P6.
“Then, the Safety Car came out, we only had like four laps left and I pushed as hard as I could. I was able to get past Zane again and secure a podium spot in the Feature Race, which was amazing. I’m very happy about it because we were so fast. I’m sure we could have fought for the win with the pace we had, but still very happy with the P3 result and the team were as well.
“Obviously from what everyone saw on TV, Zane and I had a bit of contact, but it was all fair racing. We respect each other a lot and it was actually a lot of fun battling Zane out on track. We had many laps going into Turn 5 side-by-side and battling for position. It was a lot of fun! In the end, we both got very good results. He finished fourth at the end of the Feature Race and I was third, so a very good result for the team as well.”
“I'm very happy to be going into summer break on a high. My goal is to work very hard now over the summer break to come back as strong as possible and to continue with this momentum. The win on Saturday obviously gives not only me, but the whole team a boost of confidence. I'm sure we will carry this momentum into the next three rounds and hopefully pick up more wins and some other podiums.”