Spa Formula 2: Ferrari F1 junior Leclerc dominates feature race

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 Formula 2: Ferrari F1 junior Leclerc dominates feature race

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.

NEWS UPDATE: Leclerc and Rowland disqualified

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 as he was run out of room.

Leclerc maintained his lead on the run up through Eau Rouge and along the Kemmel Straight as Antonio Fuoco got close to Rowland after moving up from fifth on the soft 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, and the pair then collided again when the virtual safety car was deployed to clean up.

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 initially lapped quicker than the Monegasque driver but he quickly caught runners who were yet to pit.

Although Rowland did 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 a 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 2s 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.

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

Rowland's team-mate Nicolas Latifi should have lined up alongside Leclerc on the grid but did not take the start with a suspected engine problem.

Race one results

Pos Driver Team Laps Gap
1 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 25 52m55.172s
2 Luca Ghiotto RUSSIAN TIME 25 1.057s
3 Antonio Fuoco Prema Racing 25 1.446s
4 Gustav Malja Racing Engineering 25 14.912s
5 Nyck de Vries Racing Engineering 25 16.149s
6 Sergio Sette Camara MP Motorsport 25 24.356s
7 Roberto Merhi Rapax 25 28.479s
8 Norman Nato Pertamina Arden 25 30.611s
9 Santino Ferrucci Trident 25 37.735s
10 Robert Visoiu Campos Racing 25 39.133s
11 Nabil Jeffri Trident 25 42.608s
12 Alexander Albon ART Grand Prix 25 54.552s
13 Ralph Boschung Campos Racing 25 55.217s
14 Louis Deletraz Rapax 25 56.070s
15 Sean Gelael Pertamina Arden 25 1m09.082s
16 Nobuharu Matsushita ART Grand Prix 24 1 Lap
- Charles Leclerc Prema Racing 25 Disqualified
- Oliver Rowland DAMS 25 Disqualified
- Jordan King MP Motorsport 1 Retirement
- Nicholas Latifi DAMS 0 Not started


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