Charles Leclerc claims seventh pole at Belgium

Charles Leclerc claimed pole position for the seventh time this season in a wet qualifying session at Belgium for Prema Racing.

Prior to the summer break, Charles Leclerc secured his seventh consecutive Formula 2 pole at Hungary, however, when it was found that he was using a part that did not comply with technical regulations, he was disqualified from the overall qualifying result. This left him hungry for a pole position when F2 returned to Belgium, aiming to make it seven poles in eight rounds in 2017.

Charles Leclerc claims seventh pole at Belgium

Heading into qualifying, Leclerc looked like the man to beat as usual after topping practice for Prema Racing. His nearest challenger was his team mate, Antonio Fuoco, who was only 0.138 seconds slower than Leclerc’s best time. Oliver Rowland and Artem Markelov followed the Prema pair in third and fourth fastest for DAMS and Russian Time, aiming to spoil the Italian team’s Friday and carry momentum into Saturday’s Feature Race.

What was a rubbered-in circuit earlier in the day became a green circuit for qualifying, with heavy rain soaking the circuit. This forced drivers to run on the wet compound tyre, with intermediates not being available to Formula 2 teams in 2017.

After multiple lap times were set, it became apparent that qualifying was going to be a game of track evolution, with times improving every time a lap was set as the conditions improved. After the first runs of the session, Charles Leclerc was the pace setter, almost one second faster than Oliver Rowland who was his nearest challenger followed by Nicholas Latifi and Gustav Malja.

With six minutes to go and the conditions set to deteriorate further, the field took to the track for their final runs of the session, and there was a flurry of lap times as the 20 competitors placed their bids to secure pole. With three minutes remaining, the red flag waved for Sergio Sette Camara, who spun his Campos Racing car. This brought about a temporary pause to the session which would continue with just over three minutes left on the clock.

When the checkered flag waved, no one was able to challenge Leclerc and the Monégasque secured another pole position, handing him a near perfect record in qualifying this season. Nicholas Latifi was his nearest challenger, and the Canadian secured his first front row start in the series. Oliver Rowland rounded a DAMS 2-3 in third place while Gustav Malja impressively put his Racing Engineering car into fourth on the grid.

A pole position for Leclerc highlights his strength and pace heading into Saturday’s Feature Race. The Monégasque driver will settle for nothing less than a win this weekend after two disappointing races at Hungary as he continues on his hunt to win the championship. Nicholas Latifi will also be dreaming of victory tomorrow, hoping that he can claim his second F2 win this weekend.

Qualifying results for the Belgian Formula 2 Feature Race:

  1. Charles Leclerc, Prema Racing, 2:20.842
  2. Nicholas Latifi, DAMS, 2:21.510
  3. Oliver Rowland, DAMS, 2:21.578
  4. Gustav Malja, Racing Engineering, 2:22.069
  5. Antonio Fuoco, Prema Racing, 2:22.073
  6. Nyck de Vries, Racing Engineering, 2:22.534
  7. Luca Ghiotto, Russian Time, 2:22.952
  8. Roberto Merhi, Rapax, 2:23.132
  9. Artem Markelov, Russian Time, 2:23.180
  10. Alexander Albon, ART Grand Prix, 2:23.409
  11. Sergio Sette Camara, MP Motorsport, 2:23.424
  12. Santino Ferrucci, Trident, 2:23.459
  13. Louis Deletraz, Rapax, 2:23.470
  14. Ralph Boschung, Campos Racing, 2:23.737
  15. Nobuharu Matsushita, ART Grand Prix, 2:23.788
  16. Jordan King, MP Motorsport, 2:24.127
  17. Robert Visoiu, Campos Racing, 2:24.215
  18. Norman Nato, Pertamina Arden Racing, 2:24.437
  19. Sean Gelael, Pertamina Arden Racing, 2:25.039
  20. Nabil Jeffri, Trident, 2:27.008

 

 

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