Spa F2: Leclerc tops practice amid fire extinguisher woes

Ferrari Formula 1 junior driver Charles Leclerc topped the Formula 2 practice at Spa-Francorchamps despite missing much of the session after his car’s cockpit fire extinguisher was activated.

Spa F2: Leclerc tops practice amid fire extinguisher woes

Leclerc, who leads the F2 championship by 50 points over Rowland, had only completed the first third of the 45-minute session when the incident occurred.

The Monegasque driver had put in his best time of 1m57.681s when the extinguisher went off just after he ran over the kerbs at the entry to Eau Rouge and he was forced to return to the pits.

His Prema racing team worked hard to replace the extinguisher and Leclerc was able to re-join the action for the final two minutes of the session, but did not have enough time to complete another timed lap.

Antonio Fuoco – Leclerc’s Prema Racing teammate and fellow Ferrari Academy member – was second ahead of DAMS racer and Renault F1 development driver Oliver Rowland.

After the mid-session lull, there were few improvements as Fuoco and Rowland, who had been second and third after the early running, were not able to better Leclerc’s time as he sat waiting for his car to be fixed.

Running on the medium Pirelli rubber looked to be a handful for several drivers, with Jordan King – who ended up 18th fastest – and Artem Markelov among the drivers sliding off-track at the right-hand Turn 9, which comes just after the Bruxelles hairpin.

Despite that, Markelov was ultimately fourth quickest for Russian Time ahead of Campos Racing driver Ralph Boschung and Arden International’s Norman Nato.

McLaren F1 junior Nyck de Vries, making his first appearance for Racing Engineering after switching from the Rapax squad ahead of the Belgian round, finished seventh quickest in front of Sean Gelael.

Gustav Malja, who ended the session with the quickest times in the first and third sectors, was ninth fastest overall, and Nicholas Latifi completed the top 10 in the second DAMS-run car.

ART Grand Prix duo Alexander Albon and Nobuharu Matsushita finished 12th and 14th, split by Luca Ghiotto.

Louis Deletraz, who swapped seats with De Vries, was 15th in his first session for Rapax, while his new teammate – former F1 driver Roberto Merhi who is replacing Sergio Canamasas this weekend – brought up the rear of the field in 20th.

Practice results

ClaDriverTeamTimeGap
1 monaco Charles Leclerc  italy Prema Powerteam 1'57.681  
2 italy Antonio Fuoco  italy Prema Powerteam 1'57.819 0.138
3 united_kingdom Oliver Rowland  france DAMS 1'58.015 0.334
4 russia Artem Markelov  russia RUSSIAN TIME 1'58.184 0.503
5 switzerland Ralph Boschung  spain Campos Racing 1'58.421 0.740
6 france Norman Nato  united_kingdom Arden International 1'58.425 0.744
7 netherlands Nyck de Vries spain Racing Engineering 1'58.469 0.788
8 indonesia Sean Gelael  united_kingdom Arden International 1'58.565 0.884
9 sweden Gustav Malja  spain Racing Engineering 1'58.596 0.915
10 canada Nicholas Latifi  france DAMS 1'58.603 0.922
11 brazil Sergio Sette Camara  netherlands MP Motorsport 1'58.607 0.926
12 thailand Alexander Albon  france ART Grand Prix 1'58.675 0.994
13 italy Luca Ghiotto  russia RUSSIAN TIME 1'58.677 0.996
14 japan Nobuharu Matsushita  france ART Grand Prix 1'58.767 1.086
15

switzerland Louis Deletraz  

italy Rapax 1'58.788 1.107
16 romania Robert Visoiu  spain Campos Racing 1'58.805 1.124
17 united_states Santino Ferrucci  italy Trident 1'58.811 1.130
18 united_kingdom Jordan King  netherlands MP Motorsport 1'58.881 1.200
19 malaysia Nabil Jeffri  italy Trident 1'59.408 1.727
20 spain Roberto Merhi  italy Rapax 1'59.586 1.905
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