Theo Pourchaire became the new Formula 2 championship leader after finishing in second place twice at Spa-Francorchamps.
The ART Grand Prix driver maximised his package in a weekend where little worked for former points leader and his main title rival Frederik Vesti. The Sauber junior outscored the Mercedes young driver by 23 points, which lifted him to the top of the standings with a 12-point advantage.
“It’s for sure the perfect way to enter the summer break,” the Frenchman told the media after the feature race, where he finished second 1.952 seconds behind Virtuosi Racing’s Jack Doohan. “We were close to that win. A bit unlucky with the safety car, for sure, but that’s part of the race and I’m proud to be P2 and leading the championship after this race.”
Pourchaire is not letting himself get carried away and affirmed that the championship “is still long” with the three rounds remaining at Zandvoort, Monza and Yas Marina. He also emphasised that “we have to be consistent”, something he had already pointed out the previous day after finishing third in the sprint race, a result which eventually became second with the disqualification of Richard Verschoor.
“I’m just focussed on doing my best race after race, improving myself, improving the car. I just want to take some good points, try to not do any mistakes and be consistent,” he said on Saturday. “Consistency is key in this championship. So I’m happy with that this year. I’m often in the points, on the podiums, which is important. And I’m sure if we continue like this, we can do great results.”
On Sunday, Pourchaire assured that he won’t change his approach despite now being the leader given the limited points advantage over his rivals.
“My approach will be the same, because I was pushing a lot before this weekend, and this weekend I was pushing a lot to try and grab some points and catch Vesti in the championship. Now I overtook him, I’m leading the championship, but it’s still three rounds to go.
“I’m only leading by 12 points. He is really fast, there are some really fast drivers as well, not far behind. So just I need to take it race after race, push, and the championship, that’s for sure a dream. That’s my goal. But we never know what can happen. So I’m just focused on race after race and doing my best.”
Behind now second-classified Vesti, DAMS’ Ayumu Iwasa and Doohan sit third and fourth in the standings, 34 and 38 points off of Pourchaire.