Master Class sees Leclerc Dominate at Spa-Francorchamps

This was the closest Oliver Rowland (right) got to Charles Leclerc all afternoon at Spa - Credit: Mauger/FIA Formula 2

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

11Charles LeclercMONPrema Racing52:23.537
26Artem MarkelovRUSRussian Time+26.635s
39Oliver RowlandGBRDAMS+26.707s
45Luca GhiottoITARussian Time+32.692s
52Antonio FuocoITAPrema Racing+33.081s
64Gustav MaljaSWERacing Engineering+46.547s
73Nyck de VriesNEDRacing Engineering+47.784s
814Sergio Sette CamaraBRZMP Motorsport+55.991s
919Roberto MerhiESPRapax+1:00.114s
1020Norman NatoFRAPertamina Arden+1:02.246s
1117Santino FerrucciUSATrident+1:09.370s
1212Robert VisoiuROMCampos Racing+1:10.768s
1316Nabil JeffriMAYTrident+1:14.243s
148Alexander AlbonTHAART Grand Prix+1:26.187s
1511Ralph BoschungSWICampos Racing+1:26.852s
1618Louis DeletrazITARapax+1:27.705s
1721Sean GelaelINOPertamina Arden+1:40.717s
187Nobuharu MatsushitaJAPART Grand Prix+1 Lap
RET15Jordan KingGBRMP MotorsportRetired
DNS10Nicholas LatifiCANDAMSDid Not Start