With his and Trident’s main rivals in the Drivers’ and Teams’ Championships lingering behind him and out of the reverse grid positions, Jack Doohan has revealed that there was some strategic thought behind his P12 finish.
PREMA Racing duo Arthur Leclerc and Dennis Hauger started directly behind Doohan in 13th and 14th for Race 1, after the Australian took pole in Friday’s Qualifying session. And although the Trident racer considered and attempted to make moves, he admitted after the race that he did have one eye on keeping the PREMA pair off the reverse grid.
Discussing the risks of an overtake and potentially letting Leclerc and Hauger move forward themselves, Doohan said: “I didn’t want to take any risks for what could still have been a zero points position, or just a one-point position if I had gotten 10th.
“In the last few laps, I had quite a pace advantage, but David (Schumacher) was not having the best race in front of me in 11th. I was near him at Les Combes and he moved over and shut the door, so I had to back out or I would have lost my front wing.
“I let off after that and gave him enough of a gap so that he didn’t have to defend, which would have potentially caused a bigger issue that could have let our title rivals into the top 12. I had to be smart about my actions and prioritise Races 2 and 3.”
Doohan is second in the standings and had spoken on Friday about the possibility of catching runaway leader Hauger, who had a 63-point advantage before Doohan went on to take pole and the four points that come with it.
Labelling the PREMA Racing driver as “catchable,” Doohan has the chance to significantly bridge the gap between them, with the Trident man set to start both Races 2 and 3 from pole. Meanwhile, the Norwegian will be back in 14th for both after he failed to score for the first time in 10 races.
Doohan would also be bridging the gap between Trident and PREMA in the Teams’ Title race, with Trident 80 points off PREMA, in second (before the four points for pole are applied).
“We have to maximise our potential now in those remaining two races (in Spa),” continued Doohan. “If for whatever reason our package is not strong enough to remain in first, then we have to take the next best position available to us.
“The goal is one thing, but the reality is another, and we just have to do the best job possible in whatever situation we are in.”