Felipe Drugovich and Theo Pourchaire have dominated the Formula 2 season more than any other driver.
Only 21 stitches separate the MP Motorsport driver and the ART Grand Prix driver, respectively first and second in the standings. Then, 49 points behind them, Logan Sargeant is third.
Unless something wild happens (which isn’t out of the realm of possibility in this series), one of the top two will be crowned the 2022 champion.
Which driver has performed the best so far and which one is most likely to win the title? Let’s take a look and find out.
Drugovich’s season so far
As one of the most experienced drivers in Formula 2, the pressure was on Drugovich to complete his third season. He qualified tenth for the first round in Bahrain, which put him on pole for the sprint race. A slow start, however, saw him slip and finish fifth. Sixth place in the Feature Race announced him as a consistent driver, but not without fault.
But if fifth and sixth weren’t consistent enough, Drugovich qualified on pole on the next lap before finishing third and first in both races. In Imola he had his worst qualification of the season so far with a 12th place. But he still managed to finish fifth and tenth in the races, scoring points twice.
It was UNI Virtuosi’s Jack Doohan who took pole in the next round in Barcelona. But it was the MP Motorsport driver, who started tenth, who won both races this weekend. Drugovich started on pole for the Sprint Race and took his first win of the weekend. So, a strategy call on sunday saw him jump from tenth to first place and claim his second consecutive victory.
Drugovich’s only retirement came in the next round in Monaco. After qualifying on pole, he suffered a puncture in the first laps of the sprint race. When he made an emergency pit stop, the team bet to put him on slicks. There was only a drop of rain on the track and it quickly dried up, but Drugovich was banned from changing tires again. Several speeding penalties in the pit lane later, he abandons the race.
This horrible race was just a small dent in the Brazilian rider’s title fight. He won the next race from pole and went on to score five consecutive top-five finishes.
Pourchaire’s season so far
The ART Grand Prix rider was a favorite for the title at the start of the season, and he did not disappoint. While he retired in the very first race of the season, he won the Feature Race and took the lead in the championship.
His worst weekend came in the next round, in Saudi Arabia. Pourchaire struggled mentally, after having a big incident at the Jeddah Corniche circuit at the end of 2021. His car had a problem in qualifying which forced him to start 20th for both races. He finished 13th in the Sprint race but retired from the Feature Race with another mechanical issue.
This weekend was the only one where Pourchaire did not score any points. He quickly recovered from a bad weekend by taking his second Feature Race win of the season at Imola. Since then he has only had three pointless finishes, one in Baku, Austria and Hungary.
He has also only qualified outside the top ten since then, in Baku. A tricky qualifying session only put him 12th for both races, but he managed to score some points in the Sprint race.
Pourchaire has beaten Drugovich at every lap since Silverstone, albeit often by little. This trend is encouraging for the French driver, who was delighted after winning the Feature Race in Hungary just before the break.
With just two DNFs and four no-points to his name this season (one more than Drugovich), Pourchaire has nearly matched his rival in consistency.
Who will win ?
The Formula 2 drivers still have four rounds to go for the championship, the first three of which will follow in the coming weeks. Then they will have a two-month break before the final round in Abu Dhabi.
In terms of results, Drugovich and Pourchaire were very similar. Both have seven podiums: Drugovich has four wins and three third places while Pourchaire has three wins and four second places. Drugovich scored points in every round, and Pourchaire only managed to score points in Jeddah.
Consistency will be key in the final rounds, and Drugovich and Pourchaire will likely play as conservatively as possible. A small incident could be the difference between winning and losing.
Drugovich has the advantage of leading with 21 points, although that’s not a lot. Pourchaire has the advantage of winning the last race and scoring more points than Drugovich in the last four rounds.
Either could very easily win the Formula 2 title. But based on previous results and consistency, Drugovich has the better chance. He took fewer risks than Pourchaire and was rewarded with more consistent points. He has only finished out of the points once, and with just one retirement to his name this season, that means there have only been two races where he hasn’t scored points. That’s 18 points, including 16 in the top five.
While Pourchaire has undoubtedly put in some of the best performances we’ve seen in Formula 2, it’s hard to see anyone matching Drugovich’s level this season.
Watch these two drivers (and possibly more) battle it out for the Formula 2 title at Spa next weekend, which kicks off the final four rounds of the season.
Feature image credit: Getty Images