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Drugovich: late call on podium-earning strategy made ‘race of my life’

by Craig Woollard

Photo: Formula Motorsport Limited

Felipe Drugovich left it as late as he could on his strategy call for Formula 2’s Monaco feature race, which took him from ninth on the grid to the podium.

The Virtuosi Racing driver made strategy gambles in the two Saturday races, making an ill-fated switch to slicks in the wet conditions of the sprint race and choosing to start on supersoft tyres rather than the soft compound for the feature race.

By massively undercutting his rivals, which immediately took him out from traffic, Drugovich could use a clean track to rise to fourth on his strategy, and he earned third when Carlin’s Dan Ticktum went off. He called it the race of his life on the radio.

“Well first of all, because it’s in Monaco,” Drugovich said of the reasoning behind that statement. “But not only because of that.

“You have a feeling every time you finish a race, and this race really I feel that I didn’t put a wheel wrong the whole race. I was on the limit, on the edge every lap pushing for my life basically.

“And I’m extremely happy with my job today so that’s why I said it was the race of my life. Because of the job I did I think I couldn’t do much better than that.”

Drugovich was also asked in the post-race press conference about why he diverged from the rest of the top 10 with his strategy, and whether he expected his tyre choice to ultimately send him to the podium.

“No, no way,” he said. “We were thinking maybe if the strategy worked, maybe P6 or P5 would be really good.

“But obviously we were wrong and very happy with the result, I think we maximised everything we had. The pitstop was great, the first stint was great. Obviously you can not overtake but I was really pushing Christian [Lundgaard] to go forward to make me gain a little bit of time in my first stint as well.”

He added: “As we came up to the grid, we had the choice to start on both. We warmed up both, going to the grid. When I got up there, everyone in front was basically on prime-option.

“Everybody knows here it’s difficult to overtake, so we tried to do something different, and it worked very well. Starting P9, of course it’s a position we can take a gamble, and for example this morning it didn’t work for sure but this evening it worked pretty well so it’s basically like that.”

While team-mate Guanyu Zhou leads the points, Drugovich is seventh in the standings after two rounds with a runner-up spot in the first Monaco sprint race in addition to his feature race third place.