Enzo Fittipaldi looks back to what could have been in Austria. The Rodin Carlin driver was leading the race for sixteen laps in the Feature Race before the safety car got deployed after a mandatory pit stop that ruined his chances of taking the win home.
Making the most of the pleasant track weather and soft tires, Fittipaldi sailed smoothly from ninth, quickly gaining two positions in the opening laps. On Lap 8, Fittipaldi was seen pressuring Jehan Daruvala and Kush Maini for fifth and eventually inheriting the lead from Frederik Vesti due to the pit stops.
The Brazilian held on to the lead sixteen laps later and picked the right strategy to complete his mandatory stop at the wrong time. The safety car was out after the incident that saw Arthur Leclerc forced into the gravel with one wheel flying over his car, and Fittipaldi no longer had the luxury of gaining places.
With the final result being sixth, he knew that the race could’ve played out differently, as he shared the words with our team member, Fraser Ford, in an exclusive interview: “I did everything possible in my control, starting from P9. Our pace was really strong throughout the whole race. We were on the alternate strategy, and our pace was really strong.
“We were leading the race about four or five seconds until the virtual safety car came out, and I just got unlucky there. I was coming into turn nine and just passed the pit entry when the safety car came out, and that cost me the win. It was so frustrating. Lost a lot of points because of that.”
Looking back at the Free Practice session, Fittipaldi got the pace he needed to secure his first podium of the season though Qualifying didn’t end up the way he wanted.
Despite his great attempts, it wasn’t enough to get the pole. The 22-year-old only claimed sixth after losing his second lap after Jehan Daruvala got in his way before losing his second lap to a massive lockup, which he didn’t have control of.
“The pace is there to win races. Free practice, we were really quick. Qualifying didn’t go out way, but we had the pace to fight for the pole. I was on for a really good lap in Qualifying until (Jehan) Daruvala spun in front of me, but that lap would have put me in the top three.” He continued,
“It just hasn’t come our way, but we know we have the pace. We still finished P6, got good points, and we’ll bounce back.”
Taking the positives to Silverstone next week, Fittipaldi looks forward to a circuit he shared moments with last year that saw him climbing the podium in Sprint Race after a relentless driver to take third from Theo Pourchaire.
With his experiences around the track, Fittipaldi hopes to secure vital championship points, as the title is still up for grabs.
“Last year, I got a podium there, so I’m looking forward to hopefully having a good weekend there, scoring good points, and fighting for the win.”
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