Why Marcus Armstrong thinks Vips and he ‘deserved better results so far’

Hitech’s Marcus Armstrong is currently having the best season-to-date in Formula 2 in his third year in the series. He is ahead of his friend and Hitech teammate Jüri Vips. Speaking to F1 Feeder Series and selected media on Thursday, Armstrong talks about his relationship with the Estonian.

By Tyler Foster

The New Zealander is currently sixth in the championship and has already surpassed both points tally from his two previous F2 seasons; 69 points with just under half the season still to go. This comes off the back of two Sprint Race victories in Imola and Spielberg and a Sprint Race podium in Monaco.

Vips impressed during the first half of the season with two pole positions in Imola and Baku, but the Estonian has been unable to capitalise on his qualifying performances and both times crashed into retirement from a winning position. Vips with three podiums to his name this year sits a couple places below Armstrong in the standings, just two points behind the Kiwi.

We’ve always pushed each other hard. Even when playing on the simulator in our apartments

Armstrong on teammate Vips

“Jüri and I, we’ve been teammates before in Formula 4, basically when I was straight out of karting. So, I know him well, we’re good friends and I’ve always enjoyed competing against each other despite being in different teams the past couple of years. We’ve always pushed each other hard. Even when we play on the simulator in our apartments we always push each other hard, so no matter where we are we’re competing.”

The pair raced together for Prema in 2017, both in the Italian and ADAC (German) F4 series. Armstrong was the Italian F4 Champion that year, but a major title battle between the two in the ADAC series resulted in Vips winning by just 4.5 points.

Both of us have not performed as well as we would have like and I think we’ve deserved better results

Armstrong on Hitech’s season so far

“I think we push each other to a higher level and that’s important, especially in Formula 2 where small margins make a big difference. I think both of us have not performed as well as we would have liked and I think we’ve deserved better results than we’ve done so far. I think it’s going to be a good next half of the season.”

Armstrong is currently currently sixth in the F2 standings, 90 points behind leader Felipe Drugovich. Meanwhile, Hitech are fifth in the Team Championship but very much still in the fight to come out on top with six rounds still to go. Both Armstrong and Vips will need a more consistent set of results in the Feature Races especially as in his third and possibly final year, Armstrong is yet to win a Formula 2 Feature Race.

Future

Following the likes of Callum Ilott Christian Lundgaard rumours of Armstrong moving to IndyCar are beginning to arise. Being asked about the possibility of a move to the American series for next year, Armstrong kept his cards very close to his chest and didn’t disclose anything new.

My concentration fully lies on Formula 2. I think that my results also dictate what I do next year

Marcus Armstrong

“We’re still halfway through the season in Formula 2”, the 21-year-old from Christchurch said. “My concentration fully lies on Formula 2. I think that my results also dictate what I do next year. I think that’s the case for all drivers in Formula 2. For me the focus is on that and whatever comes my way comes my way.”

It is certainly true that results will dictate his future with previous somewhat disappointing results in his debut years in Formula 2 led to a departure from the Ferrari Driver Academy, a move that has severely hampered his options and specifically any chances of making it to Formula 1. IndyCar looks to be the more probable of scenarios.

July is traditionally a busy one for all involved in Formula 2. Four race weekends in the space of five weeks, with just a solitary week in between to act as a much-needed break. With Rounds 7 and 8 completes at Silverstone and the Red Bull Ring, next up is the double-header at Paul Ricard and Hungaroring shortly after. We asked Armstrong how he spent his short break between races in July and whether he enjoyed the busier schedule.

If it was up to me it would always be like this, just continuous racing

Marcus Armstrong on a packed F2 calendar

“When we are constantly on the road, we don’t really have the time to be in the gym so for me I’ve used this time as a good training block. Me and my physio, we are in the gym every day. So that’s obviously a positive. Apart from that we did a couple of media activities and then just hanging around with some friends. I really enjoyed this busy period; if it was up to me it would be always like this, just continuous racing: back to back to back to back. That would be great, my dream. I wouldn’t change anything about it.”

Header photo credit: Formula Motorsport Limited

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