Who will stop Felipe Drugovich? This is the question that everyone asked themselves at the end of the Monte Carlo round in which the Brazilian of MP Motorsport managed to obtain his fourth victory of the season and further extend his advantage in the standings.
Drugovich, fresh from the double success in Spain, did not experience a linear weekend. On pole on Friday, but with a hit on the wall that created repercussions on the final classification with the penalty of Lawson and Iwata rei for not having lifted their foot under the yellow flag, in the ball in the Sprint Race on Saturday, also thanks to the choice to mount the rain tires with dry asphalt after a puncture on the rear right, Felipe managed to redeem himself in the key appointment on Sunday at the end of an intense duel with Théo Pourchaire.
During the weekend in Monaco, however, there was also the rebirth of Dennis Hauger. The 2021 Formula 3 champion, author of a start to the season too bad to be true, was finally blessed with luck and managed to unleash a sensational performance in the Sprint Race showing everyone the specific weight of his right foot.
Formula 2, Monaco: Hauger’s redemption
A smooth weekend was needed to lift Dennis Hauger’s morale and on the most complicated track of the season the Norwegian finally managed to take his first Formula 2 victory in his own way, dominating.
The inversion of the grid for the Sprint Race allowed Hauger to start from the second box, but the PREMA driver, immediately after the start, unexpectedly found himself in first position when the poleman Jake Hughes stalled, frustrating the work of the mechanics forced to stay late to rebuild the Van Amersfoort Racing car demolished in qualifying.
Once he took the lead, the hammer Hauger of Formula 3 was revisited. Fast, incisive, perfect, Dennis constantly lapped in record times, scoring reference chronologies at every step.
Dennis Hauger, Prema Racing
Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool
What impressed most, however, was the total trust between Hauger and his car. If in recent events it seemed that the Norwegian was just a passenger in the single-seater, this weekend, on a track where Dennis had never raced, we saw a Hauger in total control of the vehicle.
Do you need numerical proof to show how devastating the Norwegian was? Just look at the gap paid by Jehan Daruvala, who finished in second position: 6 seconds and 7 tenths. An infinity.
“To be honest it’s like a dream. This is my first time racing here and being able to win is a great feeling. I got off to a good start and have been trying to control the situation ever since. I am very happy ”, these were Hauger’s first words at the press conference.
Which Monaco represents for the F3 2021 champion the key episode to make sense of the season? The hope was expressed by Hauger himself.
“Barcelona was a disappointment. I am very happy to have managed to get the first victory. I hope this success can represent a turning point ”.
If Hauger had a perfect day, the same cannot be said of Drugovich. The Brazilian of MP Motorsport, victim of a puncture on the rear right during the first lap, decided to fit the wet tires in the pit in the vain hope that the rain would come at any moment.
The choice turned out to be completely wrong and after several requests from the team, Drugovich decided to take the path of the pits to retire and regain energy in view of the Sunday appointment.
Formula 2, Monaco: Drugovich and Pourchaire put on a show
The disappointment of Saturday was immediately redeemed on Sunday by Felipe Drugovich. Once again the Brazilian managed to occupy the first step of the podium by conquering the fourth success of the season, but in this case he had to work really hard to get the better of Théo Pourchaire.
The two, immediately after the obligatory stop, gave a show by offering a high intensity challenge.
The French of the ART Grand Prix showed a considerably faster pace than the Brazilian and in the last stint of the race he pushed to the maximum trying to mislead the MP Motorsport standard bearer.
The gap between the two has always been within 5 tenths, but Drugovich has never done anything wrong. Perfect trajectories, impeccable traction at the exit of the corners, millimeter in touching the guard rails, Felipe held off a Pourchaire who appeared exhausted at the end of the race confirming an incredible state of form that few would have foreseen at the beginning of the season.
Also in this case, to understand the racing masterpiece displayed by the two ART Grand Prix and MP Motorsport drivers, it is useful to look at the chronometer. If Pourchaire, once he understood that the chances of winning were now gone, he passed under the checkered flag with 8 tenths of a delay, Juri Vips, third, came alone with an eight second gap.
Photo by: Dutch Photo Agency
Drugovich and Pourchaire thus showed even the most skeptical why Monaco is so special: the intensity of the duel between the two kept all spectators in suspense until the last lap despite the absence of overtaking.
Regardless of the discussions that every year, punctually, arise on the need or not to keep Monte Carlo on the calendar, a fact clearly emerges at the end of the fifth round of the season: Drugovich, unexpectedly, is on the run.
The Brazilian is the unexpected protagonist of this season and now leads the standings with 112 points, while Pourchaire, who still seems to be struggling to get into gear, follows detached with 81 points. The rest of the party? Missing. Daruvala is third but with just 53 points, three more than Amrstrong.
Will Drugovich be able to maintain this pace throughout the season?