Thoughts from Doohan, Pourchaire and Fittipaldi

FIA Formula 2: A very warm welcome to the top three finishers of the FIA Formula 2 Feature Race here at Spa-Francorchamps. In third place, Enzo Fittipaldi for Rodin Carlin. In second place, Theo Pourchaire for ART Grand Prix, and taking his fifth win in FIA Formula 2, our winner Jack Doohan for Invicta Virtuosi Racing. Jack, what a week with back-to-back Feature Race wins, how do you sum it all up?

Jack Doohan: Yeah, to be honest I’m super happy, I had a great weekend last weekend at the Hungaroring , and started the weekend off here strong, felt super confident. I was a bit unlucky in Qualifying, being at the back in the pit lane not getting to set a lap before the rain in Sector 2. In the end it put us out of the top 10, which wasn’t ideal, but I drove my heart out to get fifth. Super lucky today, 100% but it owed me, whatever it is up there it owed me some luck so I took it with open arms and had a really strong day. We had some great pace so I was happy to show that.

FIA Formula 2: Jack, of course you won the Feature Race here at Spa last year, this is a track that brings out the best in you.

Doohan: Yeah I won back to back races here in F3 in 2021, the Sprint and Feature race on the podium and Feature race on the podium last year. Yesterday I wasn’t quite close enough, but today, yeah you could say I like this place a little bit. To be honest on Friday afternoon, I’m like I don’t like this place, but today I do again.

FIA Formula 2: What were you thinking going into today’s race, lining up 11th on the grid?

Doohan: Once I sort of got over Friday afternoon and stopped being a little moaner, I had my eyes forward and I honestly thought I could win today. That was my ambition, the team thought if I had a good race this morning then I could get fifth. I was in bed last night manifesting a win and in the end I was lucky with the Safety Car but I’m happy we were able to get that done.

FIA Formula 2: Talk us through what happened the safety car, how confident were you being on the soft tyre?

Doohan: I knew I would’ve had a traction advantage on the first stint and as we saw at the Hungaroring, the medium and the soft are not too far apart, so there wasn’t a clear advantage. The odds were in my favour being on lighter fuel and the preferred tyre compound but in the end it wasn’t as easy as I thought, maybe we were running different aero packages and I wasn’t able to get past as easy as I would’ve liked but I got it done.

FIA Formula 2: Were you flat through Eau Rouge on the lap that you passed Theo?

Doohan: I was flat every lap except Lap 1. Virtuosi have given me an awesome car and made it definitely easier.

FIA Formula 2: You say you’ve got an awesome car. You’re now 38 points behind Theo in the Championship, will it be difficult to close that gap?

Doohan: Yeah I think so for sure and I’m not in a pressure situation either. There are some things unfortunately out of my control this year but we’re resilient and we’ve been able to fight our way back after five rounds going from 18th in the Championship. It’s still an almighty gap. Theo’s still an awesome driver and doing an excellent job and so is Enzo, but I’ll continue to fight and if we can do it then I’d love to.

FIA Formula 2: Theo coming to you. What a race, not only in itself but also for the Championship you're now leading by 12 points what a way to enter the summer break.

Theo Pourchaire: Yeah it's for sure the perfect way to enter the summer break. We were close to that win and a bit and lucky with the Safety Car for sure but that's part of the race. Yeah I'm proud to be P2, leading the Championship after this race and I mean I had a great car and that's really good you know. I had a great pace was driving well at the beginning, I tried to overtake Bearman and I couldn't but then the pit stop was excellent so we had the almost perfect race except from the last Safety Car but as I said it's part of the race.

FIA Formula 2: If we go back right to the very beginning and you're start you went from fifth to second.

Theo Pourchaire: From fourth to second I would say. Yeah for sure I don't know what happened to Fred Vesti but I think he crashed in the installation lap so you know it was really tricky conditions. For sure I was fifth on the grid, but minus one car but I had a really great start, I could overtake straight away my teammate and I wasn't on the inside, so yeah I overtook Nissany as well and then from there just pushed all the laps. I tried to, as I said, overtake Bearman, but it wasn't possible as we cut Turn 5, so we were pushing a lot but big thanks to the team for the pit stop. The pit stop was amazing and also the strategy we took at the right time.

FIA Formula 2: You couldn't pass Ollie earlier on in the race and you the paint says he say had you not passed him in the pits, do you think you had the pace late on in the race overtaking on track?

Theo Pourchaire: Yeah I think so. I think I was a bit quicker than him, he was in free air for the whole race and he was quick for sure, he had a great pace but not really really strong so on the prime tyres. I felt confident Jack was a bit quicker than me but he had that traction advantage on the soft tyres, that's the main difference I would say so I couldn't keep him behind, but yeah I could overtake Bearman if I was behind him.

FIA Formula 2: Just tell us what you were thinking prior to that final restart with Jack there on the soft tyre?

Theo Pourchaire: Yeah I was looking at him in the mirrors and exiting the last chicane just after the restart it was already really close to me and I didn't expect that, so I was like OK maybe I can stay in front one or two laps. I tried my best, but yeah I knew that P2 was the real goal after the restart because I was sure he was going to be a little bit quicker than me.

FIA Formula 2: Enzo, coming to you now. A win and a podium, can you sum up the past 24 hours for us?

Enzo Fittipaldi: Yeah it's been a great weekend for me. I had my first win yesterday, which was a great race and then today as well. We started eighth and I was up to four on the first lap and then I had a very strong battle with my teammate Zane at the beginning and those at the end of the race. It's just been a great race weekend for me, great points for the Championship, I'm very happy with that result.

FIA Formula 2: Tell us more about those battle with Zane, how close did it get?

Fittipaldi: It got really close, I think we were fair with each other but obviously we're both aggressive drivers and yeah it was clean and fair you know. We both got a great result at the end of the race me third and he was fourth so was great points for the team.

FIA Formula 2: Any messages from the pit wall during those battles?

Fittipaldi: No none at all yeah.

FIA Formula 2: Pre-race?

Fittipaldi: No, just go. We have a good relationship outside the race track, we are good teammates and stuff but you know when you get in the race, it's war you know there's no friends or anything it's just go for it.

FIA Formula 2: It's been a very strong weekend for you - just how confident are you of maintaining this pace at Zandvoort when we get going in a month’s time?

Fittipaldi: I'm confident, I know I've had the pace this this whole year. I've been unlucky some moments in some races which cost me some points this year, but in pace I think I've always been this year around the top six in Qualifying and being always in the top ten in the in the Feature Races. I know my pace is there to finish on the podium and win races now so I'm confident going into Zandvoort and going into the last three race weekends. I'm sure we can make great results and continue climbing in the Championship.

FIA Formula 2: Thank you very much to all three of you.