Red Bull Ring, Austria
The feature race saw Charles Leclerc take his fourth victory after showing exceptional pace throughout the race and delivering a pole to flag finish at the Red Bull Ring.
Questioning whether the rain would make an appearance the Prema Theodore Racing drivers were all set for qualifying on Friday afternoon. Trying to make the most of an empty track with rain threatening, Charles Leclerc quickly took provisional pole with Antonio Fuoco claiming P3. With Albon taking the spot from Leclerc with only a few minutes left, the Monegasque driver had to push the car to it’s limits which he succeeded in doing, claiming his fifth pole out of the five rounds this season.
Antonio Fuoco started second for Race 1 and initially got a better start than his team mate but was unable to make a pass. Both Ferrari backed drivers continued to claim fastest laps from one another but it was Leclerc who ultimately managed to create a 4.6 gap to Fuoco in P2. With fresh tyres after pitting, Fuoco passed Rowland on turn 3 to claim back P2 before holding the position right till the last lap where, Latifi stole the second spot on the podium, putting the Italian in P3. Charles Leclerc controlled the rest of the race with ease as he cruised over the finishing line to take the win, extending his lead in the Championship.
Greeted by the picturesque Stirian hills of Austria ahead of the FIA Formula 2 Sprint race Antonio Fuoco started P6 and Charles Leclerc P8 due to a reverse grid. At the lights Fuoco had a flying start and gained two places, Leclerc held his position as a safety car was deployed almost immediately. At the restart Fuoco held P4, as Leclerc charged up the field taking Latifi and King for P5. But the Championship leader’s race was cut sort after contact with his teammate on lap 5. With six laps to go, the Italian went into full attack mode, hunting down his rival Rowland, cutting the gap lap by lap, but eventually was unable to find the pace and was passed by Ghiotto settling for P5 at the chequered flag.
As the team heads to Silverstone for next weeks (14th-16th July) back-to-back race, Charles Leclerc and Prema Theodore Racing remain in the lead of both Driver and team Championships.
Teddy Yip commented “To see both cars lock out the front row and then finish with both drivers on the podium is just about as good as it gets!”
# 1 – Charles Leclerc
“It has been a positive weekend with a good beginning, P1 in practice, P1 in qualifying and victory in race 1. We couldn’t have done better, every time we were on-track we were the fastest and even in race 2 we were very quick. It was close at the start and we managed to avoid the stopped car but then later in the race we had a contact and I couldn’t do much about it. It’s a shame but we look forward to Silverstone where we will try to catch up what we lost in race 2”.
# 2 – Antonio Fuoco
“I think this has been a normal race with not too much degradation. I did a good start and after a few laps I tried to attack Rowland. I am very sorry for what happened to Charles behind me: I was pushed in the grass and the only thing I could do was to get back on the track. Then the pace was good with a really competitive car. After a little degradation issue, in the final stages we seemed to be back to our pace. These are really valuable points and we hope to get more of them at Silverstone”.