Charles Leclerc’s dominant Saturday victory has been disallowed after his car failed post-race inspections along with third-placed and main title rival Oliver Rowland, promoting Artem Markelov to the winning step.
Leclerc had a half-decent start, allowing Rowland to run along on the outside on the run to La Source, with Leclerc keeping the inside line, he was able to maintain his lead with the pair making slight contact, costing Rowland minor front wing damage.
From that point, Leclerc built a healthy lead over Rowland, both running a soft/medium tyre strategy. With the first stop coming from Rowland on lap 7, Leclerc managed to extend his first stint until lap 11 when he still emerged ahead of Rowland and began to smash the timing screens, almost two seconds a lap faster than everyone else on the track.
As Leclerc crossed the line, 26 seconds behind him Rowland was under massive pressure from Markelov who utilized a medium/soft strategy to race his way from P9 to the back of Rowland’s car in P3, attacking the Briton at the Bus Stop chicane where he was pushed wide but used his fresher tyres to out-drag Rowland, albeit on the outside of the track.
Both drivers were given 5-second time penalties for this skirmish. Rowland for pushing an opponent off-track and Markelov for overtaking Rowland outside the track limits, effectively canceling out both penalties and initially classifying Markelov and Rowland 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Post-race inspections found that both Leclerc’s and Rowland’s cars had too much wear on the wooden underfloor plank and were thus both disqualified, promoting Markelov to the win ahead of Ghiotto, completing a RUSSIAN TIME 1-2, while Antonio Fuoco found himself in his first podium of a difficult 2017.
Behind them, Gustav Malja narrowly edged out his new Racing Engineering team mate Nyck de Vries for 4th, while Sergio Sette Camara took 6th ahead of Roberto Merhi who did well on his F2 return to finish ahead of Norman Nato who takes reversed-grid pole with his P8 finish. Santino Ferruci and Robert Visoiu also inherited points as they now round up the top 10 with 9th and 10th respectively.
This results leaves Leclerc in the drivers’ title lead ahead of Rowland while Markelov takes a big chunk off Rowland’s points margin as follows:
1- Charles Leclerc, 212 pts.
2- Oliver Rowland, 158 pts.
3- Artem Markelov, 150 pts.
Sunday’s Sprint Race, scheduled over 18 laps, gets underway at 10:15 local time (GMT +2).
|2017 FIA Formula 2 Championship Race of Belgium – Feature Race Final Classification (25 laps)|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Laps||Result|
|1.||Artem Markelov||Russian Time||25||52:50.172|
|2.||Luca Ghiotto||Russian Time||25||+ 5.985|
|3.||Antonio Fuoco||PREMA Racing||25||+ 6.374|
|4.||Gustav Malja||Racing Engineering||25||+ 19.840|
|5.||Nyck de Vries||Racing Engineering||25||+ 21.077|
|6.||Sergio Sette Câmara||MP Motorsport||25||+ 29.284|
|7.||Roberto Merhi||Rapax||25||+ 33.407|
|8.||Norman Nato||Pertamina Arden||25||+ 35.539|
|9.||Santino Ferrucci||Trident||25||+ 42.663|
|10.||Robert Vișoiu||Campos Racing||25||+ 44.061|
|11.||Nabil Jeffri||Trident||25||+ 47.536|
|12.||Alexander Albon||ART Grand Prix||25||+ 59.480|
|13.||Ralph Boschung||Campos Racing||25||+ 1:00.145|
|14.||Louis Delétraz||Rapax||25||+ 1:00.998|
|15.||Sean Gelael||Pertamina Arden||25||+ 1:14.010|
|16.||Nobuharu Matsushita||ART Grand Prix||24||+ 1 lap|
|Not Classified||Team / Entry||Laps||Result|
|DNF.||Jordan King||MP Motorsport||1||Puncture|
|DQ.||Charles Leclerc||PREMA Racing||Floor|
- Charles Leclerc – who was provisionally classified as the winner of the race – was disqualified after his car failed post-race scrutineering due to excessive wear to the underfloor plank.
- Oliver rowland – who was provisionally classified in second place – was disqualified after his car failed post-race scrutineering due to excessive wear to the underfloor plank.
Image via FIA Formula 2 Championship