Fittipaldi: Supersofts Degraded Faster Than Expected in Jeddah F2 Feature

Fittipaldi: Supersofts Degraded Faster Than Expected in Jeddah F2 Feature

Fittipaldi's black and orange F2 car on track

Jeddah F2 Feature Race winner Enzo Fittipaldi said he was surprised by how quickly the supersoft tyre degraded in the early phases of the 28-lap contest Saturday afternoon.

Van Amersfoort Racing’s Fittipaldi started the race fourth but rose to third on the opening lap by passing ART Grand Prix’s Victor Martins, remaining there until the pit stop cycle began at the end of Lap 6.

Polesitter Kush Maini and Fittipaldi made their stops on Lap 7. By the time of the cycle’s conclusion on Lap 9, the Brazilian driver had jumped ahead of DAMS’ Jak Crawford, who stopped on Lap 6.

Fittipaldi had superior pace on the medium tyres and passed polesitter Kush Maini into Turn 1 on the 13th lap to take fourth on track but the net race lead.

A safety car intervention on Lap 16 to recover Franco Colapinto’s stricken MP Motorsport car changed the complexion of the race, with alternate-strategy runners Juan Manuel Correa, Amaury Cordeel and Taylor Barnard given the opportunity to change from the medium to the supersoft tyres without losing track position.

Correa opted to stay out in a strategic gamble that did not pay off. Barnard dropped back soon after the race resumed on Lap 19, but Cordeel – who started 20th – appeared a genuine threat for victory at one stage, particularly after he passed Correa for the lead on Lap 21.

Fittipaldi then claimed the lead into Turn 1 the next Lap in a sensational double overtake around the outside of both Correa and Cordeel. He never looked back, building a gap of 7.895 seconds over Maini by the flag.

In the post-race press conference, Fittipaldi told InsideF2 that before the race, he expected the supersoft tyres “to last longer than they did.” He also said he expected a “more rear-limited” race, or more degradation on the rear tyres in a manner that increases oversteer.

About Cordeel, Fittipaldi said, “I knew he was going to start struggling on the supersoft because after like four laps already when we were on the supersoft, they started to fall apart. So I was quite confident we were going to get past him.”

Maini could never quite catch Fittipaldi after the safety car came out. He ended up overtaking Cordeel for net second just before the virtual safety car came out on Lap 24 as marshals recovered the car of Zak O’Sullivan, who spun out and couldn’t get going again.

Maini nearly lost the position on lap 25 but held Cordeel off until the very end of the race, when the Belgian driver lost third place in the final turn. The degradation Cordeel faced at the end was unsurprising, Maini told InsideF2.

“In the end, there was a bit of a nightmare when the safety car came out,” Maini said. “That’s the last thing you want to see because that gives the chance for the alternate strategy to work.

“But overall, I think I knew they wouldn’t hold on to the supersofts the whole 11 laps or whatever we had at the end, so it was just a matter of time. In the end, we came home in P2, so no surprises there.”

Credit: Van Amersfoort Racing is your home for Formula 2

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Fittipaldi's black and orange F2 car on track