Jüri Vips had to “keep calm” to take his maiden pole position during a difficult, rain-affected Qualifying session in the third round of the FIA Formula 2 Championship.
The Hitech Grand Prix driver took his Hitech to the top of the standings despite delays to the schedule, changeable conditions throughout the day and poor visibility as the light slowly faded on the historic Imola circuit.
Speaking during the post-Qualifying press conference, Vips explained how he navigated the session:
“The most important thing on days like this is to keep calm. Two hours before Qualifying, we had the full dry set-up on the car because we didn’t expect any more rain, then it started raining all of a sudden, and everyone was panicking, and we had to change the set-up.
“We didn’t know what the weather was going to do. There were a lot of things that you can’t predict but you just have to make the best of the situation, because in the end, the weather is the same for everyone.”
The Estonian’s calm head gained him two Championship points but will pay real dividends on Sunday when he will take pole position for the start of the Feature Race.
The Red Bull Junior will take great confidence from his performance today, as driver instinct became crucial in tricky circumstances:
“It wasn’t really wet conditions today; it was half-wet, half-dry. The car matters as well, but it was a very instinctive session. The team had no info on the tyres and how much grip there was, so it was all down to driver feedback.
“I knew that my tyres were good enough for two laps on the first run, but I assumed that on the second run – because the track is drying – it would be a maximum of one lap. I was right. Today was a bit more down to the driver, feeling everything and remaining calm.”
He will line up in P10 for Saturday’s Sprint Race, and Although overtaking is thought to be tricky in Imola, Jüri believes it will be possible to move up the order:
“The first part of the race should be a DRS train, but once someone drops off it is quite easy to overtake if the driver in front doesn’t have DRS.”
Image: Formula Motorsport Ltd