Drugovich continues championship charge while Pourchaire falters in Zandvoort qualifying – F1 Feeder Series

At this point we shouldn’t be surprised by the sheer dominance that Felipe Drugovich is showing in Formula 2. In an eventful day alongside the action in Formula 3 and Formula 1, the F2 championship leader took his second consecutive pole position after last week in Belgium. F1 Feeder Series spoke to Drugovich after the session about the safety car situation in Zandvoort, as well as his preparation for the Feature Race.
By Tyler Foster
Despite not winning the Feature Race following his pole in Spa, Felipe Drugovich came to Round 12 in the Netherlands with a 43-point lead over Théo Pourchaire. His French rival suffered a mechanical failure in the same race that Drugovich finished second, crushing any momentum in Pourchaire’s fight back in the title race. 
Nevertheless, Drugovich knows the championship is still far from decided and isn’t letting off the pace one bit, which he showed by taking another pole position this time out in Zandvoort. The Brazilian was over two tenths quicker than Jack Doohan in second and over half a second ahead of Logan Sargeant in third. A fourth pole this season for the 22-year-old gave his MP Motorsport team the perfect start to their home race weekend. This weekend continues to look favourable for the Dutch team as they have their second driver, Clément Novalak, on reverse-grid pole for the Sprint Race on Saturday after he qualified 10th. The home crowd have another reason to cheer after Dutch driver Richard Verschoor managed a strong qualifying performance and will start fourth on Sunday. 
While Drugovich continued to impress throughout the session, Pourchaire faltered. The ART driver made a costly mistake at the banked Hugenholtz corner (Turn 3) and crashed heavily into the outer barriers. This ended his qualifying fairly early and resulted in him finishing down in P16. Pourchaire has a lot of work to do to try and salvage something from this weekend, especially around the tight Zandvoort track that will make overtaking a difficult task. 
One important factor for this weekend’s F2 action is the ruling that, due to the tight nature of Zandvoort’s pitlane, you cannot make your mandatory pitstop under the safety car in Sunday’s Feature Race. This was decided to help avoid a bottleneck upon exit or any dangerous circumstances between the cars and the team crews. While this may seem trivial, it is an important change as the likelihood of a Safety Car being present at Zandvoort is high. Any incidents on track are unable to be cleared quickly as a result of the short length of the circuit and the difficulty to find a safe opportunity to get marshals out on track to clear any stationary vehicles and debris.
We spoke to the championship leader and this weekend’s pole sitter, asking him whether this is firstly the right decision and secondly whether it has an effect on the strategy decisions made between the drivers and their team.
If there was a safety car and everyone came in, it would be a complete mess
“Yeah I think it’s the right call to do that,” Drugovich responded. “The pitlane here is, I don’t know if the people can see but it’s extremely tight and just feels like Monaco, maybe even worse than Monaco. It’s better to do it like that. If there was a safety car and everyone came in, it would be a complete mess and even some people might get stuck in there. It shouldn’t change so much for our approach as well.”
A scenario on Sunday whereby a long safety car period occurs could send the drivers and their team’s into panic as strategies change in the blink of an eye. We will have to see whether the stars align since there are certainly the ingredients present for a chaotic F2 Feature Race on Sunday.
With Drugovich starting on pole ahead of Virtuosi driver Jack Doohan, there may be a repeat of the battle that we saw last Sunday in Spa for the Feature Race win, from which Doohan came out on top. The Brazilian will be hoping to outdo his Australian rival this time after failing to convert pole for the first time this season.
Header Photo Credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd
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