The Estonian driver pitted from what was a comfortable race lead, until there was an issue attaching the front-left wheel. The car was dropped early and had to be jacked up a second time before Vips could exit the pits and emerge in the lower reaches of the top 10.
Speaking in the post-race press conference, the Hitech Grand Prix driver was understandably frustrated.
“Very disappointing today. We were by far the fastest on both compounds. Just a silly little error at the pit stop cost us the easy win today.”
When asked if the eventual result and the obvious pace of the car in any way made up for the pit stop, the Red Bull Junior replied: “It was not really a consolation. It was good that we got to finish the race, but I’m p****d off because we threw away an easy victory.”
Vips was left ruing what could have been, commenting: “This weekend we could have been comfortably leading the Championship. Yesterday we had a clutch issue in the Sprint Race which lost us points, and we lost an easy victory today. If we iron out these mistakes, I think we have a really good shot [at the title]. The car was very very good this weekend.”
Calan Williams and Dennis Hauger also suffered from issues at the pit stop, with both drivers left stranded in the pit lane with only three wheels attached. Thankfully, no one in the paddock was injured.
Jüri’s team mate Marcus Armstrong demonstrated Hitech’s strength, making a strong start on the softer tyres, using the alternate strategy to finish a brilliant fifth after starting all the way back in P13.
Despite his issues, Vips’s pace will trouble his title rivals, and he will hope that he can combine his speed with better fortune when F2 returns in Saudi Arabia.
*Image credits: Formula 2