Leclerc Claims F2 Victory at the Red Bull Ring

Credit: Zak Mauger/FIA Formula 2

Prema Racing‘s Charles Leclerc claimed the fourth victory of his FIA Formula 2 Series career by cruising to victory at the Red Bull Ring.

The Monegasque driver was joined by Nicholas Latifi and Prema team-mate Antonio Fuoco on the podium.

Leclerc, started from his fifth pole position in the category continuing his dominant form in qualifying.

Fellow Ferrari Drivers Academy member Fuoco started alongside him on the front row following Sergio Sette Camara‘s disqualification from qualifying due to not having enough fuel remaining in his car.

As the lights went out Fuoco had the better initial start of the Prema duo but Leclerc was able to have a better second phase going into the first corner.

Championship contender Oliver Rowland made a poor start on the option tyres and was swamped by the ART Grand Prix pair of Alexander Albon and Nobuharu Matsushita as well as his DAMS team-mate Latifi.

As the Prema pair escaped out front they exchanged fastest laps, but Fuoco ultimately had no answer to the pace of Leclerc.

Latifi was the first of the soft shod drivers to take to the pitlane on lap 7, with his team-mate coming in one lap after him. Rowland got past Latifi on lap 13 for P8 and lead car of those that had stopped.

Despite this, Leclerc maintained the gap to Rowland to stay as net leader when he eventually came in for his stop. Rowland tried to close the gap but it was to no avail.

Fuoco came in from P2 to split the DAMS pair as Leclerc came in the next lap to emerge ahead of Rowland.

Matsushita temporarily ran in first before too serving his mandatory pitstop, meaning Leclerc was back in P1.

Rowland’s charge through the field put a strain on his tyres allowing both Fuoco and Latifi to get past him. Latifi also soon found his way past Fuoco as the Canadian went on a late charge to the flag.

In only his fifth race in the series, Leclerc claimed his fourth victory ahead of Latifi and Fuoco. Championship rival Rowland tried getting back at Fuoco but was unable to do so meaning he had to settle for fourth place.

ART duo Albon and Matsushita were next to cross the line followed by Ralph Boschung. 

Artem Markelov will start tomorrow’s race on reverse grid pole after claiming eighth place from starting 14th on the grid.

Jordan KingSean Gelael – who scores his first points since the Austrian round last season – and Robert Visiou complete the top ten.

Series returnee Raffaele Marciello finished 19th and last, with birthday boy Norman Nato the only retirement.

The Sprint Race tomorrow gets underway at 10.20 CEST.

2017 Formula 2 Series Race 1 Results – Red Bull Ring

11Charles LeclercMONPREMA Racing52m21.629
210Nicholas LatifiCANDAMS 52m22.974
32Antonio FuocoITAPREMA Racing52m26.789
49Oliver RowlandGBRDAMS 52m27.311
58Alexander Albon THAART Grand Prix52m31.475
67Nobuharu MatsushitaJPNART Grand Prix52m33.808
711Ralph BoschungSUICampos Racing52m41.029
86Artem MarkelovRUSRussian Time52m42.014
915Jordan KingGBRMP Motorsport52m52.110
1021Sean Gelael INAPertamina Arden52m55.291
1112Robert VisoiuROUCampos Racing52m57.265
124Gustav MaljaSWERacing Engineering52m57.640
1318Nyck de VriesNEDRapax53m05.774
145Luca GhiottoITARussian Time53m08.525
1519Sergio CanamasasESPRapax53m10.512
1614Sergio Sette CamaraBRAMP Motorsport53m12.569
173Louis DeletrazSUIRacing Engineering53m15.052
1816Nabil JeffroSUITrident53m18.510
1917Raffaele MarcielloMASTrident+1 Lap
DNF20Norman NatoFRAPertamina ArdenDNF