Thoughts from Bearman, Fittipaldi and Pourchaire

FIA Formula 2: Many congratulations to the top three finishers of the FIA Formula 2 Feature Race here in Baku, Azerbaijan. In third place, Théo Pourchaire for ART Grand Prix. In second place, Enzo Fittipaldi for Rodin Carlin and winning his second race of the weekend, our winner, Oliver Bearman for PREMA Racing. Now, Ollie, you’ve had a few moments for things to sink in, everything you’ve done this weekend. How are you feeling now?

Oliver Bearman: It feels really good, of course. From the outside (it looks like) a flawless weekend, but it was far from it but I’m really happy to take home almost maximum points and get our Championship started.

FIA Formula 2: You say it was far from a flawless weekend but what could you have done better?

Bearman: Well I don’t know if you saw my pole lap but I was turning right for the entire time, so I made my life a bit more difficult for the entire time. But, it could’ve been much worse, especially with these tracks with walls, I need to leave a bit of margin. But anyway, almost maximum points this weekend, really good results.

FIA Formula 2: And is this the moment you ignite your Championship challenge?

Bearman: Yeah it’s the moment I’ve started scoring points, I think I entered the round with three, so we start to join the Championship now heading to Europe where I know the tracks. Hopefully that helps me out a little as well.

FIA Formula 2: Just talk us through the early laps in particular, you had a nice battle with Théo, just tell us about those overtakes, both of you and you on him.

Bearman: Yeah so I was, especially on the early laps when the tyre pressures were low, the car is touching a lot on the straight, it was really holding me back. I couldn’t see how fast Théo was catching but I knew he was going to be close and he was really strong on the brakes, especially at the start of the race. So he went for it and I followed him for a lap and he was pushing a lot more than me at that stage of the race, so I picked up my pace a bit and got him back. From there, I knew what to do. Managed to break the DRS and stayed in front for the rest.

FIA Formula 2: Ollie, very well done to you. Enzo coming to you now, your first podium of the season, your first with your new team. How significant is this result for you?

Enzo Fittipaldi: I think it was very important. I think similarly to Ollie, I was coming into the fourth round without having a great start to the season, the first three rounds I only scored nine points. So this weekend was very important for me. I scored good points yesterday and today as well, so I’m very happy about that. The team did an amazing job today, we were struggling with the pace yesterday so we sat down very late and looked at the data what I could do better with my driving, and what we learned from the Sprint Race to improve the car for the Sprint Race and the car was flying today. So we were really quick and I had some good battles with Théo in the last couple laps and I’m really happy about the race today.

FIA Formula 2: After burning the midnight oil last night and looking at the data, what did you do differently today?

Fittipaldi: Just similar to Qualifying, more aggressive. The asphalt from last year to this year changed, it’s a lot smoother. I think yesterday we expected to have more thermal degradation and to have to take it easy on the driving a little bit, we noticed that when the tyres came back, they were basically brand new. So today was basically flat out every lap.

FIA Formula 2: Talk us through that brave move around the outside of Théo towards the end of the race.

Fittipaldi: Yeah I wasn’t planning to overtake him there in Turn 3, I was planning to wait and try and get him into Turn 1 the following lap but when I got tucked in behind him, the slipstream got really strong with the DRS and I carried a lot more moment under braking. I think we both braked at the same time, I was just coming in with a lot more speed and round the outside, he gave me room, we both respect eachother and we fought well there on the track. I think it was a good overtake, he did the same overtake on me in the first laps at Turn 3.

FIA Formula 2: Well done to you Enzo, Théo coming to you now, were you expecting Enzo to go for it when he did?

Pourchaire: Yeah I tried to go on the inside, but he had the DRS and was quicker with the slipstream so I was not very comfortable to brake really late, it was really dirty that part of the track. I didn’t want to do a stupid mistake and for sure as soon as we were side-by-side and I gave him enough room, and it was a nice battle. They were really nice battles today.

FIA Formula 2: So you started P3, you finished P3, just tell us about the middle bit. How did you get from one to the other, was it a straightforward race for you?

Pourchaire: The first few laps were really good. I had a not so good start but I kept my position. After that I was feeling really confident on the brakes and I had good grip, so I could take the lead of the race. I think I was in the lead for only one lap which was unfortunate but still, one lap. After that, we pitted two laps later I think than Enzo, it was a good thing to do because we had a bigger gap in the end in pit exit so I could do a safer out lap as well to warm the tyres and not take so much risk. After that I tried to push a lot but I had some issues with the rear tyres. We tried something with the team with the set-up that was a bit different than my teammate but I wanted that set-up. I think it worked pretty well, but it wasn’t very very good towards the end. I was sliding a lot. So P3 is nice.

FIA Formula 2: Very well done to you, final one. Only the one VSC in that race. After what happened yesterday, how much of a surprise was that?

Pourchaire: It’s a very big surprise, it’s Baku! The top three finished in the same position as we started, it’s a big surprise to be honest. Everyone was really cool today, cool heads so well done to everyone.

FIA Formula 2: Théo, very well done to you.