Piastri talks wins, Prema championship and title: ‘Not done until it’s mathematically impossible’

With the whole weekend building up to Sunday’s Feature Race, it was certainly a disappointing afternoon if you are an F2 fan. After a delayed start due to ongoing track repairs, the race start saw a huge crash between Théo Pourchaire and Enzo Fittipaldi which left both of the drivers hospitalised. From there, the race was red flagged and subsequently restarted, however a second red flag for a crash between Guilherme Samaia and Olli Caldwell caused Race Director Michael Masi to end the race early after only five laps of running.

By Tyler Foster

Pole Sitter Oscar Piastri came home to win ahead of his Russian teammate Robert Schwartzman and Campos’ Ralph Boschung. Race winner Piastri spoke afterwards about the entirety of proceedings. 

“It wasn’t really much of a race. I got a good start initially and held the lead but then there was the crash behind. That’s about it really for the race and then we got back under way for a few laps but there was a bit of confusion with people doing pit stops and who had actually won. I didn’t know until about ten minutes after. I think the most important thing from this one is that everyone is going to be ok.”

After the first red flag, the decision was made to have a rolling start instead of a standing one due to safety. This allowed the front runners to hold their positions at the start and Piastri was certainly pleased about this.

“My starts this weekend have been good, some of my best starts of the year but Robert’s [Schwartzman] starts generally throughout the year have been better than mine. I was hoping that I wasn’t going to have to do another start and try and beat him again off the line. I was kind of glad it was a rolling start.”

With the incident at the race start between Pourchaire and Fittipaldi being of genuine concern, there was a question as to whether we would get any racing at all. The drivers were unaware as to what state the two involved were in when the race was restarted. Piastri was asked whether restarting the race at this point was the right decision.

“At the end of the day we are all here to race, so if there’s any opportunity to get some racing then I think it’s always best to take that. A bit disappointing even to begin that it was going to be a shortened race and then we got five laps. I think it was the right to try and have a race.”

As a result of the shortened race, half-points were awarded for the drivers in the points. This means that Piastri was unable to clinch the title but has still further extended his championship lead over teammate Schwartzman to 51.5 points. He can win the title in the first Sprint Race in Abu Dhabi next Saturday. Piastri was asked whether he believes that with this gap, the fight is now over. 

“It’s not done until it’s mathematically impossible. Obviously, the points gap is big now and that was exactly the plan going into this week. I still need to make sure it’s done first and then I’ll celebrate it.”

Despite only receiving half-points and with one round left, Prema secured the Teams’ Championship as a result of the P1 and P2 from their drivers. After qualifying one and two on Friday, Piastri and Schwartzman have shared the podium twice this weekend. With the teammates sitting first and second in the Drivers’ Championship at the moment, Prema have dominated the field this year and sit 140 point ahead of nearest rivals Carlin. Piastri was asked about the achievement with Prema. 

“It’s 100% what the team deserve. They’ve done an awesome job all season. Not just this season, both season’s I’ve been with them. It’s a great achievement for the team, obviously it’s not the most exciting way to have won the teams’ championship but nonetheless it’s a massive achievement for the team and I’m really happy for them.”

Robert Schwartzman has been a part of the Prema team for four consecutive seasons from F3 to F2. He has finished in the top four in every one of those. He spoke about his experience working with Prema and what it meant to be part of another success story with them.

“Every year I’ve worked with Prema was an awesome year. Starting in 2018, I’m pretty sure all the years I’ve been in Prema, we’ve always taken the teams’ championship: 18’, 19’, 20’ and 21’. Four in a row. I’m really proud and happy for the team, they really deserve it.”

Finally, last week Swiss driver Ralph Boschung secured a full-time drive with Campos for the 2022 F2 season. Not a bad time then to secure your first ever Formula 2 podium. 

“I had an amazing start from 7th. Immediately up to third and then we had the red flag. It was a little bit of a mess; we didn’t understand how the race would go. I’m just so happy to have my podium, even though it’s not the best way to have it, I’m super glad for the team.”

The final round of the Formula 2 season is next weekend alongside Formula 1 in Adu Dhabi at the Yas Marina Circuit.

Header Photo Credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd

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