Virtuosi Racing’s Felipe Drugovich believes that Formula 2’s format overhaul means that there will be less pressure on Saturdays for those who qualify better.
Drugovich qualified third for Sunday’s feature race behind Alpine junior duo Guanyu Zhou and Christian Lundgaard.
The format change means that the top three start towards the middle of the pack for the first sprint race on Saturday from eighth to 10th, with ART’s Theo Pourchaire on pole.
In the subsequent press conference, Drugovich was asked by Formula Scout whether that had made for different emotions post-qualifying.
“I think in some way it takes off a little bit of pressure for the first day, for Saturday,” he replied. “Because in the end, the main race is on Sunday and Saturday is just trying to recover as much as you can.
“I think, in the end, the best approach is just to have fun and to try to overtake guys and prepare for Sunday’s race.”
Drugovich’s team-mate Zhou identified that having two races on Saturday will give teams and drivers opportunities to learn more ahead of Sunday’s feature.
“[It’s a] strange feeling, starting further down,” he said. “But at the same time, I think we get that first race to be more understanding of how the tyre degradation is to be more prepared for the final race.”
ART Grand Prix driver Lundgaard concurred with his Alpine stablemate. “Actually I very much agree with Zhou’s comment. I think it’s very good for us now to be mid-pack to really get a feel for it and to get the car sorted for Sunday where we can do the biggest difference and score the biggest points.
“It’s still good because we still have an opportunity to even score big points in both race one and race two, depending on our result in race one. But I’m excited, it’s 17 more points available and we need to score those 17 points extra.”
Drugovich added that the feature race may feature more overtaking between drivers on different strategies due to the harder Pirelli compound.
“I think [the new tyre] won’t change much on our approach to the race.
“The difference between the hard and the soft tyres is bigger so it might make it a little bit more exciting, a few more overtakes from someone that is on a different strategy to you. But ind the end from our side the approach is completely the same.”