Written by Vyas Ponnuri, Edited by Sameena Khan
The 2022 Formula 2 season has been an enthralling one, no doubt. New talents have been unearthed, thrilling, dramatic races witnessed, and as many as 12 different race winners from eight constructors. And, of course, the season heads into its finale, having crowned a new World Champion - Felipe Drugovich of MP Motorsport, at the end of the Sprint Race in Monza.
While Drugovich is the new Formula 2 World Champion, and his title rival Theo Pourchaire is set to lock in second in the standings, the battle for third rages on. Logan Sargeant, the Williams hopeful, comes into the event in third, with 135 points to his name. Only 25 points separate him and tenth-placed Juri Vips in the standings. Sargeant sits 29 points off Theo Pourchaire in second and will fancy his chances should the Frenchman have a below-par weekend. Although, his chances of getting second are remote, at the very least. In the Constructors’ standings, its level-pegging as MP Motorsport and ART Grand Prix head into the finale on 281 points each, with Carlin only 23 behind the pair. So it is set to be another brilliant fight for the Constructors’ standings and for third in the Drivers’ standings at Yas Marina.
Let’s get to the main point of the article, then. Who are the drivers in the fray to finish third in the standings? We shall go over the drivers one by one.
First up, Logan Sargeant for Carlin. He is the incumbent, with 135 points to his name. In his rookie season of F2, the American driver has shown his skills in the competitive world of Formula 2. After a slow start to the season, he picked up his first podium at the sprint race in Spain and followed it up with a fourth place in the Feature race a day later. After that, Sargeant rose to the occasion, picking up second in the Feature race at Baku and following it up with Feature Race wins at Silverstone and Austria. Though he has been on a rough patch, with a highest of fourth at the sprint race in Monza, he heads to Abu Dhabi on a mission. Finish in the top six to get a super-license and an F1 seat at Williams for 2023.
Sargeant faces fierce competition from another driver in his rookie season, Jack Doohan of Virtuosi Racing. One of three drivers on 126 points, Doohan’s season too began on a slow note until he picked up a second place at the Feature Race in Spain. After a few low-key weekends, his first win would come at Silverstone in the sprint race. A further sprint race win followed three rounds later at the Hungaroring. So far, the peak of his season was the weekend in Belgium after the summer break. Doohan finished second to Liam Lawson in the sprint race and managed to take the win. The weekend at Monza was challenging for the Aussie, as he finished sixth in the sprint race, followed by a DNF after a slow start from pole position in the Feature race.
Another driver level on 126 points is Prema Racing driver Jehan Daruvala. Into his third season, he switched to Prema from Carlin, intending to put up a more vigorous fight for the title. Sadly, it hasn’t gone to plan for the Indian, who has had an up-and-down season. He has taken at least one podium finish in seven out of the 13 rounds, his consistency shining brightly through the season. He is the sport’s most recent race-winner, having taken his win of the season in an attrition Feature Race at Monza. However, the lows are perched amidst the highs, stripped off a potential Feature Race win at the Red Bull Ring due to a post-race penalty, reliability issues at Spain and Belgium, and tough weekends at Zandvoort and Hungary. Nonetheless, he sits fourth in the standings and will be looking to repeat his Sprint Race win from last season at Abu Dhabi.
The third and final member of the 126-point club is Enzo Fittipaldi of Charouz. The Brazilian, now in his first entire season of Formula 2, went five races without a point before taking his first podium at the Feature Race in Imola. From then on, his season went from strength to strength, as he picked up regular points finishes spruced with podiums, with the odd non-scores in between. The high point of his season was at the Hungarian Grand Prix, which saw him take a Sprint Race victory and follow it up with a runners-up spot on the rostrum in the Feature Race. Fittipaldi inherited third after Ayumu Iwasa’s penalty in the Feature Race at Monza. He is the only driver in the top ten without a win to his name and will be looking to add his name to the winners’ list come Abu Dhabi and secure third in the standings.
Only three points off the trio mentioned above is Liam Lawson. The New Zealander is into his second season of F2 and switched from Hitech Grand Prix to Carlin this season, partnering with Sargeant. Lawson started the season on a powerful note, with three podiums in the first three races. After his Feature Race win at Round Two in Jeddah, he led the standings. Lawson then endured a run of torrid luck, with non-scores and retirements due to pit stop errors or poor reliability. Lawson also lost an all-important pole position at Monaco, having not adhered to yellow flags. However, he struck back with a podium at the Sprint Race in Baku and took a Sprint Race win at Le Castellet two rounds later. Consistent points scores saw Lawson close the gap to those ahead, as another Sprint Race win followed at the mighty Spa Francorchamps in Belgium. Despite a no-score in the Feature Race at Monza, Lawson sits only 12 points off his teammate and will be looking to sign off on a high.
Frederick Vesti sits on 117 points, six behind Lawson. The ART driver is in his rookie season of Formula 2, partnering with Pourchaire. While Pourchaire took the title fight to Drugovich, Vesti showed he was no slouch, taking podium finishes when the opportunity arose. A slow start to the season was followed by a maiden podium finish in Spain. He would eventually get his first win at Baku in a chaotic Sprint Race. Another podium finish at Le Castellet was intercepted by points-scores and non-scores. Vesti's best weekend of the season came at Monza, with a brace of runners-up appearances to the rostrum during the event. He will be looking to carry this momentum into Abu Dhabi and finish on the podium's top step.
In ninth place sits another driver in his rookie season. DAMS driver Ayumu Iwasa has accumulated 114 points to his name. The Japanese Red Bull Academy driver has shown flashes of speed throughout the season, at his maiden win at Le Castellet and a podium finish in the Feature Race at the Hungaroring. His season has been one of many tough races, with a few great races in between. He was stripped of his Feature Race podium at Monza, following his car’s plank being below the minimum thickness requirement. He will be looking to redeem himself in the final race at Abu Dhabi and end the season on a solid note.
Finally, we come to the last driver in the fray, Juri Vips. The Estonian driver continued at Hitech GP for a second season in the series and has accumulated 110 points to his name. Unfortunately, podium finishes have been hard to come by for Vips. He has been involved in multiple incidents this season, most notably from the lead of the Feature Race at Baku and Lawson at Monza. He has been a quick driver, no doubt, but has lost a lot of points due to some significant errors. Although, there was light at the end of the tunnel, with a Sprint Race win at Monza. His chances of getting third in the standings are remote, but as in motorsport, never say never.
This season has seen plenty of twists and turns, with unpredictability being the nature of this season. It is difficult to predict one candidate to finish third in the standings since one below-par race can spell doom for a driver, with the standings being closely contested. Make sure to tune in to the season finale in Abu Dhabi on November 18th, from 10:05 a.m. BST. Feel free to share your opinions in the comments section below.