Leclerc remains on top to win race 1 in Spielberg

by Chloe Hewitt

Having topped GP3 Series free practice, and taken pole position by over half a second, ART Grand Prix‘s Charles Leclerc then went on to claim his second victory of the season – even bagging the extra points for fastest lap for good measure. Team-mates’ Alexander Albon and Nyck de Vries completed the all ART rostrum in a race which saw the weather take a turn and end in an almighty deluge.

Albon took the lead from his teammate going into Turn 1, with Koiranen GP‘s Ralph Boschung up into second and enjoying a small battle with Leclerc. The Ferrari Driver Academy member was on a mission to reclaim the lead of the race – finding himself back in the lead half-way round the opening lap.

An incident at Turn 1 involving DAMS‘ Santino Ferrucci was penalised after colliding with Jake Dennis.

Out front, Leclerc was pumping in fastest lap times to get away from the chasing pack and quickly built a two second lead over Albon with de Vries behind.

The Virtual Safety Car was soon deployed as a result of Dennis stopping on the start/finish straight. As it returned to racing, Leclerc was strong with his restart and maintained a decent advantage over Albon and de Vries. In comparison, rookie Jake Hughes was immediately overtaken by Trident‘s more experienced Antonio Fuoco for P7.

Meanwhile, Leclerc was still finding more pace out front to build a gap of six seconds over his teammates’, with de Vries glued to the gearbox of Albon and just half a second separating the two.

With just six laps remaining, the rain began to fall. Leclerc was the first to arrive at the wet part of the track, running wide at Turn 2 – with Albon and de Vries behind both doing the same.

It was a challenging few laps for the driver’s with just half of the track wet, such is the nature of the Red Bull Ring.

Having made his way passed Matthew Parry, Fuoco swiftly chased after Oscar Tunjo, with the pair enjoying a fierce battle. The action did not stop despite the conditions with Tunjo passing Boschung. Unfortunately, Tunjo was served the black and orange flag due to his mirror hanging off his car which forced him to pit to have it fixed – he returned to track down in P14.

Fuoco and Boschung carried on their fight until the flag with the Swiss driver just holding off the advances of the Italian.

At the chequered flag, Leclerc took his second victory of 2016 ahead of team-mates’ Albon and de Vries. Behind them came Boschung, Fuoco, Parry, Nirei Fukuzumi, Hughes, Jack Aitken and Sandy Stuvik.

Red Bull Ring Race 1 Result

11Charles LeclercMONART Grand Prix35m01.756
23Alexander AlbonTHAART Grand Prix35m04.048
34Nyck de Vries NEDART Grand Prix35m10.705
417Ralph Boschung SUIKoiranen GP35m13.596
55Antonio FuocoITATrident35m14.887
614Matthew ParryGBRKoiranen GP35m17.250
72Nirei FukuzumiJPNART Grand Prix35m18.450
827Jake HughesGBRDAMS 35m20.256
911Jack AitkenGBRArden International35m20.885
108Sandy StuvikTHATrident35m22.482
116Artur JanoszPOLTrident35m44.870
1212Akash NandyMASJenzer Motorsport35m47.380
1328Kevin Jörg*SUIDAMS 35m47.377
1420Oscar TunjoCOLJenzer Motorsport35m47.875
1526Santino Ferrucci*USADAMS 35m48.290
1622Alex PalouESPCampos Racing35m49.428
1710Tatiana CalderonCOLArden International35m56.135
1823Steijn Schothorst NEDCampos Racing+1 lap
RET24Konstantin TereschenkoRUSCampos Racing34m26.675
RET19Richard GondaSVKJenzer Motorsport34m27.455
RET16Matevos IsaakyanRUSKoiranen GP7m06.210
RET9Jake DennisGBRArden International4m32.203

*Jörg and Ferrucci were both awarded 10 second time penalties for causing collisions.

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