Leclerc remains on top after maiden Feature race triumph

Charles Leclerc took victory in the Feature race in Spain - Credit: Zak Mauger/FIA Formula 2

Charles Leclerc’s excellent start to his rookie FIA Formula 2 Championship campaign continued at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona with his first Feature race victory, which he followed up with a fourth place in the Sprint race.

The Prema Racing ace converted his second pole position in as many rounds into a 3.730 seconds victory from Luca Ghiotto, doing so without the use of his radio, which led to his strategy call being predetermined before the race.

Leclerc felt that with the radio working he would have made a later stop, but despite that he kept his focus, making passes when he needed to, and was able to clinch the victory.

“It has been a really hard race,” said Leclerc. “We had no radio at the beginning so on the grid we changed the strategy to take the simplest one in order to avoid confusion. So we started on option tyres then went to prime.

“The option tyres were quite ok and at the end I would have preferred to do one or two more laps with them if I just could say it over the radio. Anyway we stopped on lap 6 and managed the second part of the race well.

“I just focused on my job, going as quick as possible and passing as many cars as possible without wearing out the tyres. In the end it went well and I am really happy to have won my first feature race in FIA Formula 2.”

Leclerc started eighth in Sunday’s sprint race but another strong drive saw him move up to fourth by the chequered flag, but felt it could have been even better if he had managed to clear Alexander Albon and Gustav Malja quicker than he did.

He now turns his attention to his home race around the streets of Monaco, which will be the first time he has ever raced in the principality in his career.

“It has been a very good race and the car felt great,” said Leclerc. “I lost a little bit of time overtaking Albon and Malja. If we could have overtaken them earlier, we would have had a better result but ifs don’t really matter, otherwise you could win every race.

“In general the day was really positive, the car was quick and this is the positive aspect that we can take to Monaco. We need to focus and wait for the home race.”