After two thrilling rounds in Bahrain and Azerbaijan, the FIA Formula 2 Championship moves into Europe for the first time in 2018 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
|Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya|
|Location||Montmeló, Spain||Circuit Length||4.655 km / 2.892 mi|
|2017 Feature Race Winner||Charles Leclerc (PREMA)||2017 Sprint Race Winner||Nobuhara Matsushita (ART)|
The Montmeló circuit has been a mainstay on the feeder series calendar for 20 years. Its long start/finish straight and mix of high and medium-speed corners will prove a test for drivers and tyres.
Luca Ghiotto (Campos Vexatec Racing): “Barcelona is one of the best tracks in Europe, maybe even the world probably. It’s flowing, and it’s a good testing ground for the car in all kinds of ways; there are quick corners, slow corners, hard braking and everything. It’s a good track for racing, the main straight is one of the longest so the DRS has a big effect, and on the second DRS zone you have hard braking into a slow corner, which is one of the best chances to overtake.
“On the tyres, it’s quite hard – not quite as bad as Bahrain, but one of the toughest for us. The fact that there’s so many quick corners means that it puts a lot of stress on the tyres. There’s a lot for us to manage for us to get to the end of the race.”
|2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship Race of Spain– Schedule|
|Event Dates||11-13 May 2018||Pirelli Tyres|
|Free Practice||Fri 13:00-13:45||Qualifying||Fri 16:55-17:25|
|Feature Race (37 laps)||Sat 14:40-15:40||Sprint Race (26 laps)||Sun 11:30-12:10|
Session times quoted in Central European Summer Time (UTC / GMT + 02:00)
Rewind to 2017
Last year’s Feature Race saw the eventual champion Charles Leclerc come out on top in an epic battle with RUSSIAN TIME driver Luca Ghiotto. The pair started alongside each other on the front row, and shortly after both had made their compulsory pit stops, a Safety Car was called to retrieve Sergio Canamasas’ abandoned car. With many drivers on a Hart/Soft tyres strategy opting not to pit, that left Leclerc and Ghiotto down in twelfth and thirteenth and needing to work their way forward. Leclerc’s superior overtaking and tyre management skills proved decisive in giving the Monegasque driver his first Feature Race victory. It would be the first of many.
Sunday’s Sprint Race victory was claimed by Nobuhara Matsishita, albeit thanks to a freak incident for race leader Nicholas Latifi. The DAMS driver started third, worked his way into the lead and looked on course for victory until one of his mirrors flew off and struck his helmet. The hit to the head – while harmless – proved enough to momentarily distract the Canadian, who missed his braking point and took a trip through the Turn 5 gravel. Matsushita couldn’t believe his luck and went on to claim the second win of his Formula 2 career.
The Form Guide
If the first four races have been anything to go by, the 2018 Formula 2 Championship season is wide open. There have been four different winners in as many races and no less than ten different podium finishers.
Last time out in Azerbaijan, Alexander Albon finally broke through to claim his maiden victory from pole position in the Feature Race, while Mercedes protege George Russell charged through from twelfth on the grid to win an incident-filled Sprint Race.
Their performances – and a relatively subdued showing from early championship leader Lando Norris have tightened the race at the top of the Drivers’ Championship standings. Carlin’s Norris still remains in front, albeit with a reduced 14-point margin to Albon. Norris’ teammate Sergio Sette Câmara sits third.
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has usually thrown up plenty of wheel-to-wheel action among the next generation of F1 hopefuls and there’s no reason to suggest this weekend will be any different.
|Barcelona Weather Forecast|
|Friday||12°C – 22°C||Saturday||11°C – 20°C||Sunday||11°C – 19°C|
Images via FIA Formula 2 Championship
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