Charles Leclerc made it six poles in six rounds with a stunning lap in this afternoon’s FIA Formula 2 qualifying session in Silverstone, easily continuing his perfect qualifying form to take the top spot by over four tenths from championship rivals Oliver Rowland and Norman Nato.

The Monegasque driver was the fastest man on both sets of tyres, running quicker again on his second set to top all three sectors for a combined lap of 1:38.427 to break the hearts of any of his rivals who were hoping for a reversal of fortune at the fast, flowing circuit.

The session got underway in overcast and changeable conditions, and with a little rain earlier in the day the drivers were taking no chances and were immediately onto the circuit when the lights went green. Jordan King was the first man to set a competitive time, but the local driver was knocked off the top spot mere seconds later by Leclerc with a 39.1s lap, topping all the sectors on his way there.

The entire field returned to the pits until there were just 10 minutes remaining, when they returned en masse to look for a better time. With most of the top runners following each other the top spot changed as each of them crossed the line: first Nato, then Rowland, and finally Leclerc, who cruised around on track as the others return to the pits in case there were any more challenges to his pole.

He needn’t have worried, as the other filled the spaces behind the top three: King, Artem Markelov, Nicholas Latifi, Sergio Canamasas, Nobuharu Matsushita and Sergio Sette Camara were all within a second of the top spot and will be looking for more reward in tomorrow’s feature race.

F1Weekly podcast # 731


Jamie Chadwick, the 2015 British GT GT4 Champion, has joined Double R Racing for 2017 BRDC British Formula 3.

The 18-year-old, who will become the youngest ever female driver to compete in British F3, makes the switch to single-seaters after a number of very successful years in GT racing, which culminated in winning the British GT GT4 category alongside Ross Gunn.

Chadwick, who hails from Tetbury in Gloucestershire, has tested the Tatuus-Cosworth car used in BRDC British F3 on a number of occasions during 2016, including at Snetterton and then Donington Park. She competed in a number of races in British GT throughout the year too for Generation AMR Racing.

Prior to racing in British GT, Chadwick competed in the Ginetta Junior Championship after winning the prestigious scholarship prize, finishing eighth overall in 2014 and scoring five podiums. She also became the youngest-ever winner of a 24-hour race in 2015 as she took the spoils in the Dunlop Britcar 24-Hour race at Silverstone.

Chadwick said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be racing with Double R in British F3 this year. Whilst there were options to pursue the GT route, there is no doubt about the value of a top-level single-seater series to further develop my technical ability and credentials as a racing driver.

“It will be a fascinating learning curve and we have set out a two-year programme for me to establish myself and make my mark in the series. I’m also hoping to compete in a few GT events this year, but my main focus will be Formula 3. It’s a fantastic opportunity and I’d especially like to thank Tom Gaymor, Anthony Hieatt and everyone else who has assisted me with this decision.”

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LCH will enter his home race 20 points behind championship leader Sebastian Vettel after recovering from a pre-race grid penalty to finish fourth at the Red Bull Ring. His Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas is also breathing down his neck, having sealed the second win of his career following a blistering start.

Vettel came home a close second to extend his advantage and Daniel Ricciardo took the third step on the podium for Red Bull at their home track.

“I don’t think there’s a call for me to do anything else than I’m already doing,” he said. “It’s not like the team aren’t on my side or they’re not working hard or I’m not pushing them hard enough so all I can do is try to inspire them with the drives I had today.

“When I go and look at the race-pace I was actually quickest so I had the strongest race  …  I don’t think the points reflect this. There’s nothing else I can do, I just have to keep driving the way I have been and hope things get better.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admitted Hamilton had been hamstrung in the past two races but was hopeful the worst was now behind the three-time champion.



 South African dominates from lights to flag .
 Raoul Hyman has opened his win account in the most emphatic way possible by crushing his rivals in this morning’s Race 2 at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria, leading from lights to flag and controlling the race all the way through before easing off in the closing stages to win by a second from Giuliano Alesi and Nirei Fukuzumi.
The victory was set up at the start, with the South African making a blazing getaway from pole as the lights went out to easily lead the pack into turn 1, while behind him fellow front row starter Alessio Lorandi bogged down and couldn’t delay a strong getaway by Alesi and teammate Ryan Tveter, with the ART trio of Fukuzumi, Jack Aitken and George Russell just delayed enough into turn 1 to ensure the Trident pair had an easy run up to turn 2 to set up their first lap ahead of their ART rivals, Lorandi and Dorian Boccolacci.
Hyman and Alesi were clearly faster than anyone else today, with the pair pulling away from the rest of the field as the laps rolled down: Alesi tried to use his DRS to close on the South African but it was to no avail, as Hyman slowly pulled a gap over the Frenchman as he closed in on his first win. Behind them Fukuzumi was playing a waiting game as Tveter fell back into his grasp, and on the final lap he struck, using his DRS and better tyres to steal the podium from the American.
But the attention of the paddock was elsewhere: Hyman was greeting the chequered flag just ahead of Alesi, with Fukuzumi, a gutted Tveter, a satisfied Aitken and Russell running line astern towards the finish, but behind them Boccolacci was looked to attack Lorandi after following him all race long: the pair came together and the Frenchman was airborne before landing in a lurid set of rolls from which he happily walked away, while Lorandi limped to the line in P8, with Anthoine Hubert picking up a few unlikely positions for 7th just ahead of him.
And with the weekend coming to a close it was Fukuzumi who now leads the Drivers’ Championship on 54 points, 1 ahead of teammate Russell with Hubert on 38, Lorandi on 32, Aitken on 28 and Hyman moving up to 25 points, while in the Teams’ Championship ART Grand Prix have built a big lead over their competitors with 159 points ahead of Trident on 60, Jenzer Motorsport on 54 and Campos Racing on 26 points ahead of next week’s round 3 in Silverstone.


LeCLERC SOARS TO FEATURE VICTORY  Monegasque claims fourth win of the season  

 Charles Leclerc has extended his championship lead with a sparkling win in muggy conditions in this afternoon’s FIA Formula 2 feature race at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria, dictating the pace throughout the race to record a convincing victory ahead of Nicholas Latifi and PREMA teammate Antonio Fuoco.
The Monegasque driver controlled the race right from the start, when Fuoco made a better initial getaway from P2 but Leclerc was quicker in the second phase and into the corner, leading the race once again as the rest of the field shook out between the pair. Championship contender Oliver Rowland made a poor getaway on the option tyres and was swamped into turn one, with the ART pair of Alexander Albon and Nobuharu Matsushita as well as DAMS teammate Latifi blasting past the British racer.
The PREMA pair swapped fastest laps as they pulled away from their pursuers, but Fuoco ultimately had no answer for his teammate’s pace as the gap grew between them. Latifi was the first of the option-shod drivers to pit, on lap 7, with his teammate coming in one lap later but emerging behind the Canadian, who had driven a great first stint but had no response when Rowland blasted inside him at turn on lap 13 for P8 on track, and a net podium if his strategy worked.
Leclerc, however, was unruffled, maintaining the gap back to Rowland the leader of the option drivers and a solid hand on a net victory. Rowland was doing what he could to make his strategy work, overtaking prime drivers and trying to close the gap, but it was to no avail: Fuoco pitted on lap 31 and emerged between the DAMS drivers, Leclerc came in a lap later and emerged ahead of Rowland, and when Matsushita pitted next time through the Ferrari Academy driver was back in P1.
Unfortunately the effort had taken a toll on Rowland’s tyres, allowing his rivals to regain a march on him: Fuoco got through the Briton on lap 33, Latifi dispatched his teammate 3 laps later and, remarkably given the age difference in their tyres, also pushed past Fuoco on lap 38 to form the podium: Leclerc slowed in the end but easily controlled the run to the line for a fine victory ahead of Latifi and Fuoco, with Rowland just unable to unseat the Italian for a podium. Albon and Matsushita were next across the line, running as they had all weekend, with Ralph Boschung an impressive 7th from P11 on the grid and Artem Markelov on the reverse pole from P14, ahead of Jordan King and Sean Gelael, who mugged Robert Visiou for the final point on the final lap.



Vettel publicly apologised for deliberately driving into Hamilton during the race in Baku upon his arrival in Austria, after governing body the FIA decided not to take any further action against the four-time world champion at a meeting on Monday.

However, Vettel has been warned that any similar incident of a loss of temper in the racing car could have severe consequences.

Hamilton sought out Vettel to shake his hand as they waited on the grid for their post-qualifying television interviews, but refused to shake it again when asked by the interviewer. Hamilton then beckoned team-mate Bottas over before heading to the garage.

Hamilton has said he has accepted Vettel’s apology and that his main concern was that he withdraw the accusation made in Baku that Hamilton ‘brake-tested’ him.

Bottas: “Really enjoyed it today and when you enjoy it usually the result is good. Got the car nice and stable for qualifying and was able to build up the confidence and this is a track where you really need it in the high-speed corners.”

Vettel: “Q3 was pretty good. I was very happy with the lap. The story continues between us two. It is a short track, not easy to get everything right so overall I’m happy.”

LCH:“No real issues. Car was good. Valtteri did a fantastic job. And I just didn’t hook it up in Q3. Q1 and Q2 was good but Q3 was so-so.”

The Premiere Motorsport Podcast