Spa F2: Leclerc scores crushing win after Rowland clash

Ferrari Formula 1 junior driver Charles Leclerc put in a dominant display to win the Formula 2 feature race at Spa ahead of Russian Time’s Artem Markelov.

Spa F2: Leclerc scores crushing win after Rowland clash

Oliver Rowland had looked set to finish second but was overhauled by Markelov on the run to the finish line out of the final corner.

With Leclerc in control out in front, Markelov used an alternative strategy – starting on the medium tyres – to eat into Rowland’s advantage in the closing laps.

At the start, Rowland shot off the line to get his nose ahead of the slower-starting Leclerc on the run to La Source.

But Leclerc held the inside line and the title rivals came together at the exit of the corner, with Rowland’s right front wing endplate breaking off as he was run out of room.

Leclerc maintained his lead on the run up through Eau Rough and along the Kemmel Straight as Antonio Fuoco got close to Rowland after moving up from fifth on the medium tyres.

But the battles were suspended as debris littered the track after incidents that included Jordan King retiring with a right-rear puncture and Louis Deletraz breaking his front wing in a clash with Sergio Sette Camara. The latter pair then collided again when the virtual safety car was deployed to clean up the track.

When racing resumed, Leclerc and Rowland edged clear of the pack before the DAMS driver pitted at the end of lap six of 25 to switch to the mediums.

Rowland did initially start to lap quicker than the Monegasque driver but he quickly caught runners who were yet to pit.

Although Rowland managed to decisively dive by Santino Ferrucci at the Bus Stop chicane, Leclerc was able to stop for his own mediums and rejoin third – keeping the net lead.

Markelov, who had also moved up the order at the start, had become the lead driver on the contra-strategy with an bold around-the-outside move on Fuoco at Les Combes.

But Leclerc quickly ate into his lead, pulling away from Rowland at a scintillating rate as he did so.

The 19-year-old maintained his advantage to seal his sixth win of the 2017 by 26s at the chequered flag and increase his championship lead to 66 points over Rowland.

Markelov, who was lapping two seconds quicker than Rowland on his soft tyres at the end, attacked around the outside of the Bus Stop, but at the final turn went off the track as the Briton ran him out wide.

But the Russian Time driver had better traction and stole second place by less than 0.1s at the line.

Ghiotto, struggling for grip on his old softs at the end, just held on over the medium-shod Fuoco to keep fourth, with Gustav Malja prevailing in an all-Racing Engineering scrap to take sixth ahead of Nyck de Vries.

Sergio Sette Camara came home eighth, with former F1 driver Roberto Merhi and Norman Nato rounding out the top 10.

Rowland’s teammate Nicolas Latifi should have lined up alongside Leclerc on the grid but did not take the start.

shares
comments
Spa F2: Leclerc dominates rain-hit qualifying

Previous article

Spa F2: Leclerc dominates rain-hit qualifying

Next article

Leclerc stripped of Spa victory, Rowland loses third

Leclerc stripped of Spa victory, Rowland loses third
Load comments
How Red Bull's next F1 hopeful turned around his season Prime

How Red Bull's next F1 hopeful turned around his season

Having impressed in Formula 3, Juri Vips looked to be next cab off the rank in Red Bull's prestigious Junior Team before his 2020 schedule was dealt a heavy blow by the COVID-19 pandemic. After a tough start to life in Formula 2, Vips is showing signs of a recovery - could he be the first Estonian to reach Formula 1?

FIA F2
Jun 14, 2021
How F1 hopeful Pourchaire is re-writing the F2 record books Prime

How F1 hopeful Pourchaire is re-writing the F2 record books

He'd marked himself out as a star of the future in last year's FIA Formula 3 championship, but 17-year-old Theo Pourchaire underlined his credentials by winning his first Formula 2 race in the Monaco feature. Sauber junior status gives him a clear route to the top, but with wisdom beyond his years, he's not getting caught up in his own hype.

FIA F2
Jun 3, 2021
The F1 hopeful living two lives to keep his dream alive Prime

The F1 hopeful living two lives to keep his dream alive

Having lost his backing from Red Bull, Richard Verschoor has had to graft to continue his ascent up the single-seater ladder. An impressive Formula 2 debut in Bahrain, despite the lateness of his deal, shows his unorthodox approach is paying dividends.

FIA F2
Apr 22, 2021
Was Formula 2’s radical format switch a success? Prime

Was Formula 2’s radical format switch a success?

Going into the 2021 Formula 2 season the biggest talking point wasn’t about any drivers or teams, but the new race weekend format. Created partly out of financial necessity but also to spice up the action, the Bahrain opener provided a snapshot of the positives and negatives to come.

FIA F2
Apr 4, 2021
Why 2021 is make-or-break for the driver F1 needs Prime

Why 2021 is make-or-break for the driver F1 needs

He was tipped for glory in FIA Formula 2 last year, but was hampered by reliability woes at inopportune moments. Guanyu Zhou knows he won't get too many more chances if he is to become China's first F1 driver, with fierce competition within the ranks of Alpine's junior stable

FIA F2
Mar 25, 2021
Ranked! Carlin's greatest F1 graduates Prime

Ranked! Carlin's greatest F1 graduates

Carlin has helped guide enough drivers to Formula 1 to fill out an entire grid, plus a handful of reserves, to create a remarkable alumni list. With Yuki Tsunoda set to join that group, Motorsport.com has ranked its graduates to grace the grand prix scene...

Formula 1
Feb 22, 2021
How Mick Schumacher earned his Haas F1 chance Prime

How Mick Schumacher earned his Haas F1 chance

Michael Schumacher may have won seven Formula 1 titles, but he didn't even compete for a crown at the second tier. Son Mick put that right in 2020, and proved to Ferrari that he was deserving of a shot at motorsport's elite category in 2021…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2021
How Aitken’s fortunes turned around for his shock F1 chance Prime

How Aitken’s fortunes turned around for his shock F1 chance

As a consequence of George Russell's step up to Mercedes to cover for the COVID-positive Lewis Hamilton, Jack Aitken will make his Formula 1 debut for Williams at the Sakhir Grand Prix. Long on F1's peripheries, Aitken finally has a chance to shine.

Formula 1
Dec 3, 2020