Spa F2: Ferrari F1 junior Leclerc fastest before extinguisher issue

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

Spa F2: Ferrari F1 junior Leclerc fastest before extinguisher issue

Antonio Fuoco - Leclerc's Prema Racing team-mate and fellow Ferrari Academy member - was second ahead of DAMS racer and Renault F1 development driver Oliver Rowland.

Only a third of the 45-minute session had elapsed when Leclerc, who leads the F2 championship by 50 points over Rowland, had to slow.

The Monegasque driver had put in a 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 rejoin the action for the final two minutes of the session, but did not have enough time to complete another timed lap.

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 left-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 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.

His new team-mate - former F1 driver Roberto Merhi, who is replacing Sergio Canamasas this weekend - brought up the rear of the field in 20th.

Free practice times

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Charles Leclerc Prema Racing 1m57.681s - 7
2 Antonio Fuoco Prema Racing 1m57.819s 0.138s 17
3 Oliver Rowland DAMS 1m58.015s 0.334s 14
4 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 1m58.184s 0.503s 12
5 Ralph Boschung Campos Racing 1m58.421s 0.740s 15
6 Norman Nato Pertamina Arden 1m58.425s 0.744s 18
7 Nyck de Vries Racing Engineering 1m58.469s 0.788s 15
8 Sean Gelael Pertamina Arden 1m58.565s 0.884s 14
9 Gustav Malja Racing Engineering 1m58.596s 0.915s 15
10 Nicholas Latifi DAMS 1m58.603s 0.922s 15
11 Sergio Sette Camara MP Motorsport 1m58.607s 0.926s 16
12 Alexander Albon ART Grand Prix 1m58.675s 0.994s 12
13 Luca Ghiotto RUSSIAN TIME 1m58.677s 0.996s 14
14 Nobuharu Matsushita ART Grand Prix 1m58.767s 1.086s 14
15 Louis Deletraz Rapax 1m58.788s 1.107s 16
16 Robert Visoiu Campos Racing 1m58.805s 1.124s 16
17 Santino Ferrucci Trident 1m58.811s 1.130s 15
18 Jordan King MP Motorsport 1m58.881s 1.200s 18
19 Nabil Jeffri Trident 1m59.408s 1.727s 16
20 Roberto Merhi Rapax 1m59.586s 1.905s 14


shares
comments
McLaren-Honda protege Lando Norris tipped for 2018 Prema F2 seat

Previous article

McLaren-Honda protege Lando Norris tipped for 2018 Prema F2 seat

Next article

Spa Formula 2: Ferrari F1 junior Charles Leclerc on pole in wet

Spa Formula 2: Ferrari F1 junior Charles Leclerc on pole in wet
Load comments
What next for the enigma "too politically incorrect" for F1? Plus

What next for the enigma "too politically incorrect" for F1?

Having by his own admission "blown my chances" of reaching Formula 1, Dan Ticktum is facing an uncertain future. A driver of unquestioned ability who has at times been his own worst enemy, can he apply his lessons and rebuild his career hopes?

FIA F2
Sep 30, 2021
How F2's biggest talent could be forced to spend 2022 on the bench Plus

How F2's biggest talent could be forced to spend 2022 on the bench

Tipped as the next big thing after winning the FIA Formula 3 championship in his rookie season, Oscar Piastri has taken Formula 2 by storm and looks set to clinch that title too. But with no Formula 1 seat available to him for next year, the Alpine junior may have to wait for his time in the spotlight…

FIA F2
Sep 24, 2021
How Campos Racing has bounced back from its devastating loss Plus

How Campos Racing has bounced back from its devastating loss

After the sudden death of its founder in January, Formula 2 stalwart Campos Racing was left facing its hardest season to date. But new team boss Adrian Jr is determined to honour his father’s legacy and has returned the team to its winning ways

FIA F2
Sep 20, 2021
How F2 and F3's flawed format changes could prove shortlived Plus

How F2 and F3's flawed format changes could prove shortlived

After a chaotic 2020, marred by the coronavirus pandemic, the FIA brought in radical changes to Formula 2 and 3. But less than 12 months later, there are talks of them being reversed after all did not go to plan…

FIA F2
Sep 9, 2021
The Red Bull F1 junior aiming to defy geographical odds Plus

The Red Bull F1 junior aiming to defy geographical odds

It's a long way from Pukekohe New Zealand to Milton Keynes, but Red Bull's Kiwi protege Liam Lawson has defied plenty of odds to reach the rung below F1. He's endured disappointment since winning on his F2 debut in Bahrain, but is determined to turn his season around and prove himself worthy of a place in F1

FIA F2
Jul 27, 2021
How Red Bull's next F1 hopeful turned around his season Plus

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
The making of an F1 hopeful re-writing the F2 record books Plus

The making of an F1 hopeful 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 10 greatest F2 races contested by F1 drivers Plus

The 10 greatest F2 races contested by F1 drivers

Formula 2 used to be about more than providing a stepping stone to F1. For three decades it often provided another setting for the world’s best to fight it out. Autosport picks out the very best races

FIA F2
May 16, 2021