Charles Leclerc wins from pole in Formula 2 Feature Race in Spain

With Formula 2 returning this weekend for the second round of racing in 2017, Chris Soulsby looks at the Feature Race in Spain, which saw Charles Leclerc secure his second win of the year.

Formula 2 returned to the track this weekend in Spain for the second round of the 2017 Season. For the 37 lap Feature Race, Charles Leclerc would be starting from pole position, with Luca Ghiotto starting alongside him in second. The race was filled with tight and breathtaking wheel-to-wheel action throughout, which started on the first lap and didn’t end until the drivers crossed the line.

Charles Leclerc wins from pole in Formula 2 Feature Race in Spain

With the 20 drivers of the Formula 2 grid lined up for the race start, as the five lights went out, the field piled into turn 1, with Leclerc getting a clean start from pole position. Ghiotto however, had a better start, and was able to challenge the Prema driver into the first corner. Leclerc held onto the lead however, but the battle was far from over, with the pair remaining side by side until the fifth turn of the first lap. The pair then settled, and Leclerc began to pull away. Further down the field, Leclerc’s team mate, Antonio Fuoco, was having a more difficult time, crashing into the back of Artem Markelov and ruining his race on only the second lap.

The running order changed at the front on lap four, when Alexander Albon passed Ghiotto for second place. Four laps later, Albon then took the lead, with Leclerc pitting from first on lap eight to fit the prime tyres to his car. He rejoined in 15th. Ghiotto then pitted one lap later from second place, rejoining in 14th behind Leclerc.

On lap ten, the yellow flags waved, with Sergio Canamasas breaking down in the second sector, causing the Virtual Safety Car to be deployed, freezing the field until the stricken Trident car was cleared up. After requesting a push start from the marshalls however, the Safety Car was deployed, with the car in the middle of the track.

After Canamasas’ car was cleared up, the Safety Car returned to the pits on lap 13, and Leclerc began his charge to the front, passing Ralph Boschung for eighth place on lap 17.

On lap 21, there was a new leader, with Oliver Rowland overtaking Alexander Albon in turn seven, putting his DAMS into first place. Albon later pitted from second on lap 26 and Rowland followed him into the pits on lap 29, handing the lead back to Charles Leclerc.

With the laps running out and Rowland down in fourth place, the British driver could get a podium finish providing that he would be able to pass Nobuhau Matsushita who was lying third place. Rowland ultimately made the pass with a few laps to go, and rounded out the podium positions, with Leclerc going on to win the race from Luca Ghiotto by 3.7 seconds who finished in second place.

Matsushita managed to hold onto fourth place after being overtaken by Rowland, remaining ahead of a hard charging Albon who finished in fifth.

Nicholas Latifi finished in sixth place in the second DAMS car, overtaking Gustav Malja in the final few laps. Malja finished in seventh place.

Artem Markelov finished in eighth place for Russian Time after starting in 13th, and as result, will start from pole position for the Sprint Race in Spain.

Jordan King finished in ninth place for MP Motorsport, while Ralph Boschung rounded out the points paying positions in tenth place.

By winning the Feature Race in Spain, Leclerc has secured his second win of the season, and his podium finish in three races, after winning last time out in Bahrain and securing a third place finish. By achieving such a result, Leclerc looks to be one of the main candidates for the championship this year in Formula 2, and it will be interesting to see if anyone can match him, as at the minute, he seems to be in a league of his own.

Results from the Spanish Formula 2 Feature Race:

  1. Charles Leclerc, Prema Racing, 25 points
  2. Luca Ghiotto, Russian Time, 18 points
  3. Oliver Rowland, DAMS, 15 points
  4. Nobuharu Matsushita, ART Grand Prix, 12 points
  5. Alexander Albon, ART Grand Prix, 10 points
  6. Nicholas Latifi, DAMS, 8 points
  7. Gustav Malja, Racing Engineering, 6 points
  8. Artem Markelov, Russian Time, 4 points
  9. Jordan King, MP Motorsport, 2 points
  10. Ralph Boschung, Campos Racing, 1 point
  11. Nyck de Vries, Rapax, 0 points
  12. Louis Delétraz, Racing Engineering, 0 points
  13. Sergio Sette Camara, MP Motorsport, 0 points
  14. Antonio Fuoco, Prema Racing, 0 points
  15. Johnny Cecotto, Rapax, 0 points
  16. Sean Gelael, Pertamina Arden Racing, 0 points
  17. Norman Nato, Pertamina Arden Racing, 0 points
  18. Nabil Jeffri, Trident, 0 points
  19. Roberto Merhi, Campos Racing, 0 points
  20. Sergio Canamasas, Trident, 0 points

 

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