Charles Leclerc left Silverstone with a sixty-seven point advantage in the FIA Formula 2 Championship standings after another strong weekend for the Prema Racing driver.
After again dominating qualifying, Leclerc converted his pole position into a fifth victory of the year during Saturday’s Feature race, with the Monegasque driver and Ferrari Driver Academy star won by almost nine seconds from Norman Nato, although he did have a small concern early on when smoke appeared to come out of the rear of his car, though ultimately it did not affect his day.
“We got a good start and the first lap was also pretty good,” said Leclerc. “We were fast on the option tyres and we had quite a big gap when we pitted for primes.
“We had a problem which was a bit scary as I saw some smoke behind. Nothing happened afterwards though and there were no messages on the steering wheel. We will have a look to see what happened. After that we were fast on the prime tyres too.”
What pleased Leclerc the most was the way he was able to maintain the life of his tyres throughout the race on both compounds of tyre, feeling that it was the best he has been so far in his rookie season.
“At the beginning I took my time because we knew that there would have been graining problems if we pushed too hard from the beginning,” said Leclerc. “I knew that Norman was pushing behind me but I stayed calm until I could start to push again because the car was great and then I began to open a gap again.
“”It was a really good race, probably the most positive of the season as it shows the steps we did. I’m very happy about how it ended up today.”
Starting eighth in Sunday’s Sprint race, Leclerc climbed as high as fifth on the road, but a final lap pass by Sergio Canamasas in the final turns relegated him back down to sixth, although a penalty for Oliver Rowland did indeed promote him back up to fifth. However, the Monegasque driver felt a podium could have been possible had the safety car not been deployed late in the day.
“The day was good until the last lap, it’s a bit of a shame that I was passed by Canamasas, but it was great until then,” said Leclerc. “I think we killed a little bit the tyres in the first part of the race to try and catch up from quite a bad start, but then the pace was amazing and that’s a great thing to take away to Budapest.
“Too bad for the safety-car that cost us the chance to get on the podium because we had a cool down lap on the tyres before pushing again, but we’ll see in Budapest.”