Charles Leclerc was unstoppable on his way to winning the FIA Formula 2 Bahrain GP sprint race, his maiden win.
The Monegasque started from fifth and quickly climbed up to 2nd, following leader Luca Ghiotto and easily overtaking the Italian who was on a tyre-conserving strategy, while Leclrec’s pace and later radio messages made his intention of pitting clear as degradation was extreme due to the smoldering Bahrain heat.
Leclerc set about building a ten-second gap before making his stop for soft tyres, emerging P15 and 20 seconds down on Oliver Rowland who had taken the lead from Ghiotto.
As the PREMA driver was on fresher, softer rubber, he set about doing blistering laps, taking three to four seconds a lap out of the leaders and overtaking rivals with ease to arrive to the leaders with a couple of laps remaining.
By then, Ghiotto had overtaken Rowland for the lead and was doing everything he can to hold off Leclerc who overtook Rowland with ease on the penultimate lap and was giving chase to Ghiotto. On the final lap, Ghiotto -who was struggling with tyre wear- slid a little wide at Turn 4 and Leclerc quickly seized in to take the lead for the remainder of the lap and win his maiden Formula 2 victory with style.
Ghiotto and Rowland still managed to finish behind in 2nd and 3rd ahead of a racy Nicholas Latifi on 4th.
Jordan King came home in 5th ahead of Nyck de Vries and Alexander Albon in the ART, the Thai falling down the order after starting 2nd. Artem Markelov picked up the final point after starting on the soft rubber and changing to medium. The Russian seemed like the man to beat in the early stages of the race but couldn’t move up the order with the same ease as fellow obe-stopper Leclerc and could only manage 8th.
With this win, Leclerc now leads the drivers’ championship with 36 points with Markelov and Rowland trailing while Russian Time lead the way in the teams championship from PREMA and DAMS.
Image via FIA Formula 2 Media