MP Motorsport’s Felipe Drugovich has admitted that the events of Imola’s Formula 2 feature race may be pushing the championship leader’s strategy direction to the conventional option more often.
Drugovich lost a strong result at Imola after the timing of a late safety car ruined his race on the alternative strategy, which usually entails using the harder tyre compound for a long first stint, something that he was outspoken about post-race.
After winning the Barcelona sprint race last weekend from fourth on the grid, Formula Scout asked Drugovich if the result was overdue given he was denied a chance to win in the previous round.
“Imola, we haven’t been lucky with the feature race there, also in quali a little bit but whatever, it is what it is,” he said, before moving on to discuss his Barcelona sprint race battle with DAMS’ Ayumu Iwasa.
“The first third of the race, he was quite close to me, and I was feeling that I had the pace, but if I needed a little bit more I would be over-pushing a little bit the tyres.
“So I thought ‘okay maybe if it was the end of the race, maybe I could be struggling’ but I think also the others had the same problem, or even more because they were following.
“From the middle of the race on I was just really comfortable, but in the starting phase of the race I felt some pressure from him.”
Drugovich only qualified 10th at Barcelona, which would have translated to pole on the sprint race’s reversed grid had it not been for a three-place penalty, and remarkably he ended his weekend by winning the feature race.
When asked ahead of that race about his strategy choice, Drugovich added that “I need to wait and see. But yeah, we’re going to try to do something safe, I would say, because last time we tried something different in Imola and it didn’t work. So probably the team is more keen to do something safe this weekend.”
Drugovich’s former MP team-mate Nobuharu Matsushita won from 18th on the grid in Barcelona’s feature race after stopping for a second set of softer tyres in 2020.
Speaking about strategy, Hitech GP’s Juri Vips said after qualifying that “I’m gonna give away this, it’s not a prediction or anything, everyone’s going to pit on lap six on option because it’s just a terrible tyre on the race run, and then we’re going to have 30 laps on the prime with very, very hot conditions and that’s going to be very, very tough.
“Because also, already at the test when it was lower temperatures, we had people really struggling, but that was driving alone. If you are in a racing situation, following other cars, fighting wheel-to-wheel, it’s going to be very tough to survive, let’s say.”