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Does momentum play on Formula 2 drivers in a hectic phase of the season? Three racers speak on this

Written by Vyas Ponnuri

Formula One and its feeder series Formula 2 and Formula 3 are in the midst of a hectic run of five races in six weeks. While this stretch of European races are key to any driver's season, they carry utmost drivers racing in Formula 2 and Formula 3, as fewer racing weekends in the year are usually dictated by close battles all around.

Formula 2 is in the midst of a crucial five-race run, having made their way to Spain after a month off following the Monaco weekend. The Spanish weekend kickstarted a triple header consisting of the Red Bull Ring rollercoaster in Spielberg, Austria. before the feeder series makes its tour towards the special venue of Silverstone later this weekend.

Two weeks on from the Silverstone sojourn, the Formula 2 contingent make their way to the Hungarian capital of Budapest, before venturing into the dense Ardennes forests for the Belgian round of the season, held at the popular Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, with the usual Formula One summer break in sight.

This stretch of races can make or break a driver's Formula 2 season. Having bedded into the series during the opening rounds of the season, the emphasis will be on the young drivers to apply their knowledge of the Formula 2 car and gain big points to aid their campaigns.

While it would be a trait most rookie drivers would display in the course of their respective seasons, the challenge for 2024 requires even the veteran racers adapting to the handling traits of the new Formula 2 machinery used for the season. Drivers and teams who gain the best understanding of how the new car works will find themselves in the running to take the outright spoils at the end of the season.

In a relatively condensed calendar, race weekends can come thick and fast, and drivers will have to remain focused and looking forward to the challenge ahead, with little time to look back and ponder over events in the past.

They will have to endure difficult weekends in their quest for glory, and look to grow from the setback than to be bogged down and feel the pressure heading into the upcoming race weekends.

Right after Formula 2's qualifying session at the Red Bull Ring on Friday, the trio of drivers seated at the press conference were coincidentally coming off difficult showings at Barcelona, with pole-sitter Dennis Hauger losing out on points due to track limit infringements and incidents, while second-placed qualifier Joshua Durksen would be dealt a blow when his engine cut out mid-race, right when he was leading.

Feature race winner Gabriel Bortoleto, who qualified third, was coming off an under-par weekend at Barcelona, having come to blows late on with teammate Kush Maini, later incurring a five-second time penalty for his actions at turn one on the final lap.

When asked if this played on his mind heading into the weekend's races, Bortoleto responded on how each driver is different, and from his perspective, what happens in the previous weekend stays in the previous weekend:

"Each driver is different (from each other), I believe. On my side, I move on. When it's a good weekend, I remember the best parts of it, but when we don't have the weekend (I think) we deserved, like in Barcelona when we had a good quali (qualifying) and then we went backwards, we had some issues that are now fixed."

"But, everything I needed to discuss in Barcelona, it's in Barcelona, I am fully focused on the Spielberg race. I'm sure we'll have good races this weekend."

He would indeed have races to remember at Spielberg, finishing fourth in the sprint, and winning the feature race on Sunday.

Durksen's comments echoed the points made by his counterpart, speaking of the ability to move on from tough showings as an ability any driver has, and less time to look back into what happened the previous weekend:

"To be honest, no, not really," the Paraguayan racer responded. "I think it's an ability us drivers learn pretty well. If something happens, you have to not check, and you have to focus on the next one, because you don't have time to think of what happened last time."

"Like Gabriel (Bortoleto) said, you are fully focused on the next weekend, in this case the Red Bull Ring, and for me it doesn't make much of a difference."

Hauger would speak about the ease of transitioning between race weekends, to reset and hit the simulator, as he summed it up in a short and concise response:

"No, to be honest, I think it's a lot easier (transitioning between race weekends). You just have to reset straightaway, go into the simulator and start to prepare for the next weekend."

"For me, after a tough weekend, to go and reset that mindset straightaway into the next one was good. In the end, it's more motivation to get back where you want to be."

Resilience is a key aspect every Formula 2 driver must have, in order to be successful and level up in the future, and our three qualifiers expressed this trait in abundance at the Red Bull Ring on Friday, making remarkable comebacks to qualify in the top three for Sunday's race.

Formula 2 heads to Silverstone this weekend to round out the triple header. Do make sure to tune in to see the next chapters of the 2024 Formula 2 season being written out.


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