Formula 2: Leclerc storms to third Feature Race win in Austria

Leclerc takes fourth overall win of the season, Latifi, on alternate strategy storms to second late on, as Antonio Fuoco takes maiden F2 podium. Artem Markelov on reverse grid pole.

Formula 2: Leclerc storms to third Feature Race win in Austria
Charles Leclerc's win was his third Feature Race win of the season, extending his championship lead over Oliver Rowland. (Image Credit: Formula 2)

Charles Leclerc just held off a charging Nicholas Latifi late on to claim his fourth Formula 2 win of the season in the Feature Race in Austria. 

Leclerc, starting from pole in the Prema, began the race on the yellow-marked Pirelli rubber, while Latifi's DAMS team opted to run him and team-mate Olier Rowland on the alternate strategy, starting on the red-marked super-soft tyres. 

In the final laps, Latifi overtook Rowland, and eventual third-place finisher Antonio Fuoco to be closing in on Leclerc, but fell 1.345s seconds short. Had there been an extra lap, Latifi would have been right on Leclerc's tail. 

Rowland came home fourth, losing 17 points overall to Leclerc in the driver standings, having lost grip in the final 10 laps. 

Alexander Albon led home ART GP team-mate Nobuharu Matsushita, who claimed fastest lap, for fifth and sixth respectively, with Ralph Boschung taking six points for his seventh place finish for Campos Racing.

Artem Markelov will start tomorrow's Sprint Race from Reverse Grid pole, with Jordan King and Sean Gelael rounding out the points paying positions. 

DAMS opt for alternate strategy

Sergio Sette Camara did not take his front-row slot after being kicked out of qualifying for a fuel infringement, while Nyck de Vries stalled his Rapax  on the grid. 

At lights out, Leclerc led away, and was rarely seen thereafter, comfortably building a lead over team-mate Fuoco, despite constantly locking his right-front into the downhill Turn 4 hairpin.

Starting on the super-soft Pirelli's DAMS, pitted on lap six and seven with Latifi and Rowland, leaving them 34 and 33 laps respectively to go until the cheuqered flag.

Prema decided to finally pit first Fuoco and then Leclerc on with 10 and nine laps to go, setting up a tense finish. 

Latifi on the charge

Leclerc emerged from his stop ahead, with Rowland, who had negtionated the slower traffic, and passed team-mate Latifi, just getting the jump on Fuoco. 

However, by this time the Brit was beginning to struggle, and gave a meagre fight when Fuoco came up the inside at Turn 3 a couple of laps later. 

Latifi then came back at Rowland, easily passing the sister DAMS, before setting off after Fuoco's Prema. 

He finally caught up and made the move at Turn 1, but ran just short of time to catch leader Leclerc, whose fourth win of the season, was his third on the Saturday. 

Albon, raced to fifth, despite still having a broken collarbone from his cycling accident, with team-mate Matsushita finishing around three seconds behind.

Markelov finished in eighth, meaning he will start tomorrow's Sprint Race from Pole. 

Luca Ghiotto's title bid is now surely over, after a pit-stop issue dropped him out of contention in the race, and leaves him 64 points behind the Monagasque driver. 

Formula 2 Austria Feature Race Classification

Position Driver Team Time/Gap Points Reverse Grid Position
1. Charles Leclerc Prema Powerteam 52:21.629s 29 (+4 for Pole) 8th
2. Nicholas Latifi DAMS +1.345s 18 7th
3. Antonio Fuoco Prema Powerteam +5.160s 15 6th
4. Oliver Rowland DAMS +5.682s 12 5th
5. Alexander Albon ART GP +9.846s 10 4th
6. Nobuharu Matsushita ART GP +12.179s 10 (+2 for Fastest Lap) 3rd
7. Ralph Boschung Campos Racing +19.400s 6 2nd
8. Artem Markelov Russian Time +20.385s 4 POLE
9. Jordan King MP Motorsport +30.481s 2 9th
10. Sean Gelael Arden International +33.662s 1 10th
11. Robert Visiou Campos Racing +35.636s 0 11th
12. Gustav Malja Racing Engineering +36.011s 0 12th
13. Nyck de Vries Rapax +44.145s 0 13th
14. Luca Ghiotto Russian Time +46.896s 0 14th
15. Sergio Canamasas Rapax +48.883s 0 15th
16. Sergio Sette Camara MP Motorsport +50.940s 0 16th
17. Louis Deletraz Racing Engineering +53.423s 0 17th
18. Nabil Jeffri Trident +56.881s 0 18th
19. Raffaele Marciello Trident +1 lap  0 19th
DNF Norman Nato Arden International Mechanical 0 20th

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