Throughout his rookie season in the FIA Formula 2 Championship Louis Deletraz showcased impressive pace which was rewarded with a points finish at the finale at Yas Marina.
Deletraz claiming a tenth place finish in the Feature Race – following the disqualifications of Artem Markelov and Antonio Fuoco – before setting his sights on a better result in Sunday but was forced to retire with only a handful of laps remaining.
“I’m disappointed with the way the second race ended because it wasn’t my fault, but there are many, many positives to take from the weekend and I think we were one of the strongest cars on the grid,” the Swiss driver explained. “My pace was good and I’m pleased I could bring my season to a close with this feeling.”
Coming to Yas Marina it was the first circuit which Louis had had experience of F2 machinery in and was hoping his knowledge from last year and his Abu Dhabi sponsors would power him to a strong result.
Having to settle for eleventh on the grid, Deletraz and his Rapax opted to run on the reverse strategy with the 20-year-old running as high as fourth until serving his pitstop with six laps remaining which dropped him down the order.
“We did a good job with the team to put everything together to try to find the best set up for race one,” he reflected. “We tried the alternative strategy to come back but it wasn’t the quickest. I think we managed to do a good race but we lost some time with the strategy and our qualifying position didn’t really help us.”
At the start of Sunday’s race Deletraz fought his way up into the points paying positions. However, as he drew alongside Nyck de Vries as they battled for P8 the two made contact which caused severe damage to Deletraz and forced him to retire for only the second time in 22 races.
“We had a good car and a good chance in the second race. I was one of the fastest guys on the track,” he said. “I used my DRS to catch de Vries and then as I went alongside him to pass, he didn’t brake and crashed into me. I couldn’t go anywhere. The front-left wheel was taken off with the impact and there was some broken carbon. I had to stop.
“I really think I could have made even more progress in the last four laps, maybe by overtaking Rowland and Markelov – two of the quickest drivers in the championship,” he said. “It’s not the way I wanted the season to end, particularly as I had such fantastic support from the people at ADS Securities this weekend.
“But this season was all about learning and I’ve definitely done a lot of that this weekend. Looking at the 2017 season as a whole, I think we have some great experience to take forward in the championship.”