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Leclerc wins Saturday, spins Sunday, extends F2 points lead


Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Austria. Saturday 8 July 2017 Charles Leclerc (MCO, PREMA Racing) Photo: Mauger/FIA Formula 2 ref: Digital Image _56I3213

Ferrari junior driver Charles Leclerc extended his Formula 2 championship lead despite enjoying mixed fortunes over the Red Bull Ring race weekend in support of the Austrian Grand Prix.

Leclerc continued his 100 per cent record of F2 poles on Friday in Spielberg, and carried his form through to the feature race on Saturday, taking a controlled victory.

After retaining his lead at the start, Leclerc managed to perfect his strategy and stay ahead of his rivals throughout, swapping from prime to options tires in the closing stages.

The Monegasque driver ultimately crossed the line 1.3 seconds clear of DAMS’ Nicholas Latifi after the Canadian went on a late charge with fresh tires, gaining a number of positions.

Leclerc’s Prema Racing teammate, Antonio Fuoco, took third place ahead of Oliver Rowland, who slipped 59 points behind in the title race.

Rowland was able to claw back some of the points difference on Sunday when Leclerc spun out after making light contact with Fuoco five laps into the sprint race, forcing him to retire for the third time this season.

A third-place finish saw Rowland reduce Leclerc’s advantage to 49 points as Artem Markelov scored his second win of the season for Russian Time. Alexander Albon capped off his racing return from injury with his maiden F2 podium in second place.

Formula 2 returns next weekend in support of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

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