Charles Leclerc drove a Spa-Francorchamps master class as he secured his sixth victory of the 2017 FIA Formula 2 Championship to extend his championship advantage to sixty-four points over Oliver Rowland.
Starting from pole position, the Prema Racing driver suffered some wheelspin at the start, which put him under pressure from Rowland heading into turn one, and despite his rear wheel clipping the front wing of the DAMS driver, Leclerc held onto the lead and was never troubled, ultimately winning by more than twenty-six seconds.
Nicholas Latifi should have started on the front row but a car issue meant he started from the pit lane, leaving the second spot on the front row vacant, with the Canadian unable to start the race at all, leaving the driver who sits fourth in the championship with a lot of work to do on Sunday to get anything out of the weekend.
The virtual safety car was needed before the first lap was over, with Nobuharu Matsushita stalling on the grid, while Jordan King suffered a puncture that saw him crawl around to the pits and into retirement.
There was also front wing damage for both Alexander Albon and Louis Delétraz, with the latter darting into the pits for a replacement at the end of the lap, but with mandatory pit stops needing to be made after the end of six laps, it meant the Swiss driver was forced to pit again later in the race.
Rowland held second for the majority of the afternoon but found himself under attack on the final lap from Artem Markelov, with the Russian Time driver on fresh soft tyres compared to the used Medium tyres of the DAMS driver. Heading into the final corner, Rowland appeared to have the advantage, but Markelov went around the outside, and despite running off track, out-dragged the Briton to the line to claim second.
Russian Time also claimed fourth place for Luca Ghiotto, with the Italian losing third to his team-mate before defending over the closing laps from Prema Racing’s Antonio Fuoco, who ended up just three-tenths of a second shy at the end of the twenty-five lap race.
Gustav Malja finished sixth for Racing Engineering, holding off his new team-mate Nyck de Vries over the closing laps, although there may have been some worries within the team after the duo banged wheels on the opening lap at the end of the Kemmel Straight.
Sergio Sette Câmara secured his first points of the season with eighth place for MP Motorsport, with the Brazilian also taking reverse grid pole position with the result, while the points paying positions were completed by Roberto Merhi of Rapax and Norman Nato of Pertamina Arden.
Spa-Francorchamps Feature Race Result
|1||1||Charles Leclerc||MON||Prema Racing||52:23.537|
|2||6||Artem Markelov||RUS||Russian Time||+26.635s|
|4||5||Luca Ghiotto||ITA||Russian Time||+32.692s|
|5||2||Antonio Fuoco||ITA||Prema Racing||+33.081s|
|6||4||Gustav Malja||SWE||Racing Engineering||+46.547s|
|7||3||Nyck de Vries||NED||Racing Engineering||+47.784s|
|8||14||Sergio Sette Camara||BRZ||MP Motorsport||+55.991s|
|10||20||Norman Nato||FRA||Pertamina Arden||+1:02.246s|
|12||12||Robert Visoiu||ROM||Campos Racing||+1:10.768s|
|14||8||Alexander Albon||THA||ART Grand Prix||+1:26.187s|
|15||11||Ralph Boschung||SWI||Campos Racing||+1:26.852s|
|17||21||Sean Gelael||INO||Pertamina Arden||+1:40.717s|
|18||7||Nobuharu Matsushita||JAP||ART Grand Prix||+1 Lap|
|RET||15||Jordan King||GBR||MP Motorsport||Retired|
|DNS||10||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||DAMS||Did Not Start|