Red Bull Junior Jüri Vips achieved his first career Formula 2 pole position on Friday, after a very disrupted day at Imola. The Estonian driver was quick throughout and managed to put together a lap that was nearly two tenths quicker than his nearest rival. After qualifying, Vips spoke to F1 Feeder Series and selected media about the session.
By Tyler Foster
Vips currently sits in fourth in the standings after the first two rounds, with two podiums to his name and points in all four races. The three drivers ahead of him in the championship: Felipe Drugovich, Liam Lawson and Richard Verschoor, all had disastrous sessions in comparison, finishing outside the top eleven.
We asked Vips whether this made his achievement even more sweet, to which he replied, “Actually, where did the other guys finish because I have no idea”. It’s clear that for the Estonian the focus remains on his own progress rather than that of the championship battle with others at this early stage in the season.
I haven’t got a lot of experience in these kind of conditions in general, because I’ve driven in [Italian] F4 here in the dryJüri Vips
While the Imola circuit is making its debut in the Formula 2 series this weekend, drivers such as Vips who have competed in Italian F4 are no strangers to the historic track, with it being part of the series’ calendar. We asked the Hitech GP driver whether having this previous experience at Imola helped him at all understand the layout and find that lap for Pole.
“So, in a situation like we had today, absolutely not. It wasn’t like anything I’ve ever driven before. I think I’ve had a race like a while ago in [Italian] F4 when it was a drying track but I don’t really remember how it went. I haven’t got a lot of experience in these kind of conditions in general, because I’ve driven in [Italian] F4 here in the dry.”
“I mean today wasn’t even wet, it was just half wet half dry and you know; you’re just sort of experimenting with the grip. It’s quite a weird sort of qualifying session and quite a weird grip we had today. I don’t think it really helped.”
With this being Vips’ first pole position since 2019 in F3, it may be a weird sensation being the lead car of the grid on Sunday. Before that however, we have the Sprint Race on Saturday to contend with.
For the Sprint Race, Vips will start from tenth, right in the middle of the pack. Imola is considered a circuit with a difficulty for overtaking, however when we asked the Estonian about his thoughts on this and his hopes for Saturday, he gave an interesting answer.
No, I don’t think it’s so easy, because first part of the race should be like a DRS trainJüri Vips
“Good question. No, I don’t think it’s so easy, because first part of the race should be like a DRS train. I think it’s going to be dry tomorrow so yeah, then you can’t really do anything but once someone drops off then I think it is quite easy to overtake if the guy in front doesn’t have DRS. But who knows what’s going to happen tomorrow, I’m just going to take the situation as it is.”
Ayumu Iwasa had an awesome qualifying and will join Vips on the front row for Sunday’s Feature Race. For Saturday, it will be Logan Sargeant on reverse-grid Pole, with Vips’ Hitech teammate Marcus Armstrong alongside the American on the front row.
Header photo credit: Formula Motorsport Ltd
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