Hungaroring, Hungary 

It was an emotional weekend for the Prema Theodore Racing team at the Hungaroring, for the seventh round of the FIA Formula 2 Championship. After topping free practice, Charles Leclerc shocked the field with a blistering 1:26.268 in qualifying, claiming the 7 out of 7 pole position. However, his time was later excluded due to a slight technical breach in the regulations which forced him to start from the back of the grid for race 1. Fellow Ferrari Academy Driver Antonio Fuoco had one of his strongest qualifying sessions of the season landing himself in P4 just shy of P3. 

Despite starting from the back Leclerc jumped immediately to P11 at the start of race 1. Fuoco drove into P5 but Nyck De Vries managed to get past the Italian after a few laps. Unfortunately Fuoco was then quickly forced to retire during the mandatory pit stop due to a low oil pressure issue. As the race unfolded Leclerc got past former teammate Alex Albon after a wheel-to-wheel battle for P4 before pitting. After a safety car Leclerc managed to over take three cars into the first corner showing his driving talent before crossing the line in P4 under another safety car due to Artem Markelov’s incident, scoring crucial points. 

# 1 – Charles Leclerc
“I’m very happy for the race, coming back to fourth place is an amazing result and we got good points after starting from the back. We couldn’t expect any better but watching the race I was a little disappointed for losing so much time behind Albon who was defending hard, which made us destroy the tires. As a consequence, the pace with prime tires wasn’t the best… well we were really quick considering our tire level but compared to the others on fresher rubber we weren’t as good. In the end though we finished in a great position and now I look forward to try and do even better tomorrow.”

# 2 – Antonio Fuoco
“The start was quite ok and in the first part of the race the pace seemed as good as for the others despite the fact that we were pretty conservative. The race was evolving positively until the problem at the pit-stop. These are things that happen in racing though. It feels bitter for me and the team but we’ll try to get back strong tomorrow.”

With track temperature at 40 degrees, it was set to be a scorching race 2. Starting from the back of the grid Fuoco stalled as the lights went out but managed to get the car going. Leclerc held onto P5 from the reverse grid of race 1 and begun to create a gap to Norman Nato in P6 to 6.7 seconds. As the end of the race got ever closer, Leclerc got past Luca Ghiotto to end the seventh sprint race of the season in P4 after being stuck in 3rd gear for the last 10 laps. Fuoco took P17 after maintaining his tyres after his initial bad start, along with claiming the fastest lap of the race with a 1:29.121.

# 1 – Charles Leclerc
“A very good weekend considering the conditions. We got very unlucky at the beginning, having to start race 1 from the back. Yesterday we scored P4 which is an amazing result. In race 2 we were P4 with 10 laps to the end and then a technical issue prevented us from going forward. We finished P4 with the technical issue which is great because the gearbox was very bad and I was losing a lot in the straight. It’s a big shame but at the same time it’s positive that we came back with very strong points despite the situations and the hard luck we had this weekend.”

# 2 – Antonio Fuoco
“I stalled at the start, we aren’t sure what happened exactly and we have to check the data. After that, being lapped, it was very difficult to overtake as always here at Budapest. The pace and the car in general were great and I think this is the only positive aspect of today. Now we will have some holidays and we will try to be back stronger at Spa-Francorchamps.”

After a challenging weekend the team goes into the summer break leading the Drivers Championship with Charles Leclerc. The next race will be held at the Circuit De Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium on 25-27th August.

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