PREMA’s Charles Leclerc has bagged his fourth win of the season after taking a dominant victory in Saturday’s feature race at the Red Bull Ring. The Monegasque drove a controlled race on the alternate strategy to extend his lead to 59 points in the drivers’ standings.
Leclerc started from pole and led away from team mate Fuoco as he ran a longer first stint on the Prime tyres, losing the lead for just one lap during the pit-stop phase to Nobuharu Matsushita after pitting for Options. He still ran comfortably on Options but his lead was shrunk at the latter stages of the race as he was hunted by Nicholas Latifi, eventually winning by only 1.3 seconds from the Canadian.
Latifi, who had started from eighth on the grid, got as high as fifth after the start and was the first driver on Option tyres to pit, with his team mate Oliver Rowland pitting just one lap later and emerging behind him. However, Latifi had no answer for Rowland’s pace as the Briton surged past him on Lap 13.
Rowland’s best efforts were undone as his tyres got away from him and he was passed by both Fuoco and Latifi, before the latter also passed Fuoco for second place and started pushing Leclerc in the lead but to no avail. Latifi eventually finished second while Fuoco secured his first podium in F2 and only his third points finish in third.
Rowland held on to finish fourth, losing further points from Leclerc while the ART pair of Albon and Matsushita ran an Option/Prime strategy to come home fifth and sixth.
Ralph Boschung took an impressive seventh ahead of Artem Markelov in eighth who starts Sunday’s Sprint Race from reversed-grid pole while Jordan King and Sean Gelael completed the top ten.
The sprint race starts on Sunday at 10:20 local time (GMT+2).
|2017 FIA Formula 2 Championship Race of Austria – Feature Race Final Classification (40 laps)|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Laps||Result|
|1.||Charles Leclerc||PREMA Racing||40||52:21.629|
|2.||Nicholas Latifi||DAMS||40||+ 1.345|
|3.||Antonio Fuoco||PREMA Racing||40||+ 5.160|
|4.||Oliver Rowland||DAMS||40||+ 5.682|
|5.||Alexander Albon||ART Grand Prix||40||+ 9.846|
|6.||Nobuharu Matsushita||ART Grand Prix||40||+ 12.179|
|7.||Ralph Boschung||Campos Racing||40||+ 19.400|
|8.||Artem Markelov||Russian Time||40||+ 20.385|
|9.||Jordan King||MP Motorsport||40||+ 30.481|
|10.||Sean Gelael||Pertamina Arden||40||+ 33.662|
|11.||Robert Vișoiu||Campos Racing||40||+ 35.636|
|12.||Gustav Malja||Racing Engineering||40||+ 36.011|
|13.||Nyck de Vries||Rapax||40||+ 44.145|
|14.||Luca Ghiotto||Russian Time||40||+ 46.896|
|15.||Sergio Canamasas||Rapax||40||+ 48.883|
|16.||Sergio Sette Câmara||MP Motorsport||40||+ 50.940|
|17.||Louis Delétraz||Racing Engineering||40||+ 53.423|
|18.||Nabil Jeffri||Trident||40||+ 56.881|
|19.||Raffaele Marciello||Trident||39||1 lap behind|
|Not Classified||Team / Entry||Laps||Result|
|DNF.||Norman Nato||Pertamina Arden||6||Mechanical|
1- Charles Leclerc, 151 pts.
2- Oliver Rowland, 92 pts.
3- Artem Markelov, 82 pts.
1- PREMA Racing, 168 pts.
2- DAMS, 163 pts.
3- RUSSIAN TIME, 140 pts.
Image via FIA Formula 2 Media