Starting from pole position on Saturday, Charles Leclerc cruised to a dominant win at Spa – his sixth of the season. Post-race scrutineering however, found that the undertray on his Prema was heavily worn, meaning that he was disqualified from the final result alongside Oliver Rowland. This had a major impact in the results of the race, with Artem Markelov being handed the win and Sergio Sette Camara losing reverse grid pole, with Norman Nato now being promoted to the all important eighth place for a front row start.
Sergio Sette Camara soars to maiden F2 in Spa Sprint Race
When the lights went out, Sette Camara had a lightning start from third on the grid while Nato and Roberto Merhi both had a slow getaway from the front row. Nyck de Vries moved into third place and quickly claimed second, slipstreaming Nato down the Kemmel Straight to overtake into Les Combes.
It was Oliver Rowland who had a mighty start from last place on the grid following his disqualification from the Feature Race, putting himself up into 12th place. Charles Leclerc also made a strong start, getting into 13th after starting down in 19th place.
By the second lap, it was apparent that Leclerc had carried his pace from the Feature Race into Sunday’s Sprint, overtaking Nobuharu Matsushita in Eau Rouge and Rowland in the bus stop chicane one lap later. His change continued when DRS was enabled, passing Santino Ferrucci and Robert Visoiu to move inside the top ten. An overtake on Gustav Malja saw the Monégasque driver get inside the points.
Leclerc then caught a train of cars that was fronted by Roberto Merhi. With all of the drivers having DRS, overtaking was difficult, until Antonio Fuoco launched a Verstappen-esque attack on Artem Markelov in Blanchimont, passing the Russian for sixth. Amidst this battle, Fuoco fell out of DRS range on the next driver ahead, meaning that he was vulnerable down the Kemmel Straight. What was sixth quickly became eighth for Fuoco when Markelov reclaimed his lost position and Leclerc followed him through.
Leclerc then passed Markelov who had an engine issue with his Dallara GP2-11 car, causing him to retire on lap 14. Luca Ghiotto also managed to move into fourth place in this time, clearing Merhi.
Merhi was lacking in pace and was a mobile chicane out on track, and when Leclerc tried to overtake him for fifth, both drivers ran off the circuit at Les Combes which resulted in the incident being investigated by the stewards. No further action was taken for the incident and Leclerc cleared him for fifth.
Luca Ghiotto continued to cut his way through the field and overtook Norman Nato to move into the podium positions. This proved to be one of the final overtakes of the race, with the safety car and medical car being deployed for a heavy accident involving Nobuharu Matsushita, who spun into the outside wall of Eau Rouge at 170 mph.
Matsushita’s accident proved to be the end of the race, and the safety car remained out on track until the final lap. This meant that Sergio Sette Camara secured his maiden Formula 2 win in his rookie season for MP Motorsport. Nyck de Vries continued his dream debut weekend for Racing Engineering to finish second while Luca Ghiotto secured his second podium of the weekend for Russian Time.
Norman Nato held onto fourth place after starting from pole, although Charles Leclerc may have been able to challenge him in the event of the safety car not being deployed at the end of the race. He finished in fifth. Roberto Merhi finished in sixth place for Rapax, followed by Antonio Fuoco in seventh and Oliver Rowland in eighth, rounding out the points paying positions for DAMS.
Formula 2 will return next weekend in Italy, where Charles Leclerc could clinch the championship win, providing that he has a perfect weekend for Prema Racing.
Results from the Belgian Formula 2 Sprint Race:
- Sergio Sette Camara, MP Motorsport, 15 points
- Nyck de Vries, Racing Engineering, 12 points
- Luca Ghiotto, Russian Time, 10 points
- Norman Nato, Pertamina Arden Racing, 8 points
- Charles Leclerc, Prema Racing, 6 points
- Roberto Merhi, Rapax, 4 points
- Antonio Fuoco, Prema Racing, 2 points
- Oliver Rowland, DAMS, 1 point
- Nicholas Latifi, DAMS, 0 points
- Santino Ferrucci, Trident, 0 points
- Gustav Malja, Racing Engineering, 0 points
- Louis Deletraz, Rapax, 0 points
- Ralph Boschung, Campos Racing, 0 points
- Jordan King, MP Motorsport, 0 points
- Nabil Jeffri, Trident, 0 points
- Robert Visoiu, Campos Racing, 0 points
- Sean Gelael, Pertamina Arden Racing, 0 points
- Alexander Albon, ART Grand Prix, 0 points
- Nobuharu Matsushita, ART Grand Prix, Ret
- Artem Markelov, Russian Time, Ret