Callum Ilott recorded another successful weekend in the 2020 FIA Formula 2 Championship by taking pole position and a podium finish to end round three at the Hungaroring, Hungary, 2nd in the Drivers’ Championship.
Callum’s weekend got off to the perfect start as he secured pole position in the wet qualifying session at the Hungaroring - Callum’s third consecutive top-three qualifying. Securing four points from his qualifying result, Callum encountered a difficult Saturday as an early pit stop cost him the chance of a strong result.
The alternate strategy in the feature race also proved to be the key to the race with cars starting in P11 and P16 taking first and second place. Callum eventually crossed the finishing line in P8 to pick up more championship points and secure pole position for Sunday’s Sprint Race.
Getting a great start off the line in Sunday’s race, Callum controlled the opening stages of the race and, during a two lap window, the team decided to bring Callum in for the alternate strategy. Coming in for a new set of rubber, Callum suffered a five second delay in his pitstop due to a sticky wheel nut.
Rejoining the race 40-seconds behind race leader Luca Ghiotto, Callum had ten laps to reduce the gap and retake the lead. Putting in a valiant effort, Callum arrived on the back of Ghiotto at the very last corner of the race but unfortunately it wasn’t enough and Callum had to settle for second place.
Callum now remains 2nd in the Driver’s Championship with 63 points as the championship heads to Silverstone for back-to-back weekends starting on the first weekend of August.
“It was a very wet qualifying and I was on the edge most of the lap. It was a good call by us to stay out in the gap and we managed to get the lap in before the red flag. It was a mega job by the team, obviously another top-three result for both of me and Zhou, and it's a great feeling to get my first pole of 2020.
I got a good start in Saturday's race and managed the safety restart well. I felt in control of the race at the start but unfortunately, we pitted too early and by the end, I had no pace to keep everyone behind. The alternative strategy also proved the better strategy on this occasion allowing cars in P11 and P16 to take 1st and 2nd.
It's very frustrating to start from pole and only come away with a P8 result. There's plenty to work on for next time, as we don't want to waste anymore strong qualifying results.
It was a great second race. It was a great start, a great first lap. I just cleared away and had a good gap. I was managing the tyres. This year the tyres are kind of up and down. They were fine and then they just dropped off. At that point, I think within two laps we calculated it and made the decision to pit. Unfortunately, we had an issue with the stop and I lost five seconds. I pushed to close down the 40-second gap in 10 laps after the stop and I was just half a second short at the end.
Honestly, the option tyres held performance longer than I thought. It was getting close at the end. I was loving it, but also it was frustrating to have come so close by that point. We didn't plan to box at all. I think Ghiotto would still have been ahead because we lost five seconds in our pit stop. But what a race! It was good fun.”
Photo credit: Formula Motorsport Limited