Monegasque on pole in rain and red flag affected session


Charles Leclerc has claimed yet another pole position for his collection in this afternoon’s FIA Formula 2 Championship qualifying session at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, defying the rain and a resultant red flag to grab the top spot well ahead of title rivals Nicholas Latifi and Oliver Rowland.


The Monegasque driver emerged from the gloom with a time of 2:20.842, almost 22 seconds slower than his best time from free practice this morning but vitally six tenths ahead of the DAMS duo, the only two drivers within a second of the top spot in a heavily rain affected session.


Qualifying got underway on a very wet circuit following an earlier heavy storm, but with the rain holding off there was the potential for times to improve: all of the field was immediately on track just in case, with Nyck De Vries, Luca Ghiotto and Antonio Fuoco all spending time on the top spot before the Monegasque claimed the honours at the halfway mark with 2 laps in succession improving the times before most of the field headed back to the pits for fresh rubber.


The rain had started again just as they re-emerged on track, and although some drivers were improving their times, most notably Artem Markelov who set the fastest 1st sector time and was looking a real threat to Leclerc’s P1, they were all slowed again almost immediately when a spin for Sergio Sette Camara brought out the red flags, undoing all their good work.


The session eventually restarted with just under 4 minutes on the clock, but with the rain increasing there was no chance of any improvement, ensuring Leclerc retained the honours. Behind the top 3 good drives by Gustav Malja, Fuoco, De Vries, Ghiotto and Roberto Merhi were not reflected in their laptimes, will all of them hoping that their race pace tomorrow will be able to overturn their poor luck today.


Preliminary Qualifying Classification


  Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. Charles Leclerc PREMA Racing 2:20.842 10
2. Nicholas Latifi DAMS 2:21.510 10
3. Oliver Rowland DAMS 2:21.578 10
4. Gustav Malja Racing Engineering 2:22.069 11
5. Antonio Fuoco PREMA Racing 2:22.073 10
6. Nyck De Vries Racing Engineering 2:22.534 10
7. Luca Ghiotto RUSSIAN TIME 2:22.952 10
8. Roberto Merhi Rapax 2:23.132 10
9. Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 2:23.180 10
10. Alexander Albon ART Grand Prix 2:23.409 10
11. Sergio Sette Camara MP Motorsport 2:23.424 7
12. Santino Ferrucci Trident 2:23.459 10
13. Louis Delétraz Rapax 2:23.470 11
14. Ralph Boschung Campos Racing 2:23.737 11
15. Nobuharu Matsushita ART Grand Prix 2:23.788 10
16. Jordan King MP Motorsport 2:24.127 9
17. Robert Visoiu Campos Racing 2:24.215 11
18. Norman Nato Pertamina Arden 2:24.437 9
19. Sean Gelael Pertamina Arden 2:25.039 10
20. Nabil Jeffri Trident 2:27.008 10