Entering into the weekend at the home track of Antonio Fuoco at Monza, both himself and Charles Leclerc had a solid preformance in Free Practice. Having scored seven out of eight pole positions so far this season Leclerc struggled in qualifying after two red flag situations and was unable to get the most out of the car. Both Prema Theodore cars were to start on the fourth row of the grid as Fuoco had a similar session being deprived from a better start position than P8.
After an insanely delayed Race 1 due to the extreme weather, the first wet race of the season started with a number of formation laps behind the safety car until race officials felt the track was safe. Once the green lights finally appeared Leclerc instantly jumped to P4 before taking another two positions behind race leader Nyck De Vries. For Fuoco it was a tricky start, but after a number of laps the Italian battled with Louis Deletraz to gain a position before continuing to climb into P4. After two clean pitstops there were five laps to go when the start of the dramatic ending to race 1 began. Oliver Rowland lost a rear left wheel which resulted in a safety car. As the restart took place Leclerc had to take the escape route into turn 1 dropping him to P3. In the last lap De Vries and Leclerc touched ending both of their races. On a positive note, Antonio Fuoco claimed the second spot on the podium. Later in the evening it was announced that Fuoco was handed the win of Race 1 due to Luca Ghiotto’s 5 second penalty, making it the Ferrari backed driver’s first win of the season at his home track!
# 1 – Charles Leclerc
“Very happy about the pace we had today in the rain, we were very very quick. I don’t think I have to add any comment to what happened in the last lap and I think the video will speak by itself. It hasn’t been a smart move: I’m the first driver to say that it was my fault when I make a mistake but here I’m absolutely sure that I haven’t done anything wrong. I was on my line: Nyck told me he lost his car but it’s disappointing because it’s not the first time something like this happens when I’m around. We ended in the wall a race that I think we deserved to win. It is life though. We will try to fight our way from the back. I read that many fans are happy to see my comebacks, so I expect an interesting race”.
# 2 – Antonio Fuoco
“Obviously it has been a very particular race due to the wet conditions but the pace was great and I quickly realized how fast I could be despite the fact I couldn’t get rid of the cars I had in front. After that I managed to close the gap to the frontrunners. After the pit-stop, the safety-car helped us a bit – sometimes we get good luck eventually – and I think I gave my 100 percent until the very last lap. I’m delighted and I want to thank the team as well as all the people that were here to support me as they gave me a great push.”
The sun shone down on Monza for the second race of the weekend. Fuoco started P8 after being handed the win of Race 1 and Leclerc P17 due to his misfortunes in Saturday’s race. It was a clean start for both drivers, Leclerc gained two positions and quickly had a wheel to wheel battle with Championship rival Rowland but Leclerc won the fight before claiming Norman Nato’s position in P13. Fuoco got up to P6 after a few laps, plus claiming the fastest lap in the early stages of the race. The excitement once again unraveled as Fuoco kept climbing the field before pouncing on Deletraz for P3 and making it stick on the last lap, allowing him to claim a double podium this weekend. For Leclerc having fought his way from the back after receiving front wing damage the Monegasque driver tried his hardest to get by Alex Albon for P8 and the last point scoring position but was unable to find the last ounce of push in the car and settled for P9 having started P17.
It is now a month’s break for the team until the stand alone event in Jerez 6-8th October. Charles Leclerc still holds the FIA F2 Championship title by 59 points.
# 1 – Charles Leclerc
“I’m pretty happy about the race today, the pace was there but in Monza when everybody has the DRS it is just very hard to overtake because you can’t pass on the straight. Pace wise we were quick until the tires degraded towards the end. It hasn’t been the weekend we had hoped for and definitely not the one we deserved. Yesterday’s race was already disappointing and today finishing so close to points it’s disappointing too, but in the end the speed is still there which is the most important thing. We need to look forward to Jerez and try to seal the championship there if possible.”
# 2 – Antonio Fuoco
“It has been a positive weekend and I think we deserved it as a team because we kept pushing really hard. Yesterday we were a bit lucky with the penalty assessed to Ghiotto but I did everything well and stayed on track which was particularly important, so it all went in the right direction. Today the start was not perfect but the car was great and I could push in every lap with an amazing pace. I did some overtakes, which is quite nice, and finished on the podium in a great overall result for this round.”