FIA Formula 2

Charles Leclerc takes stunning Bahrain F2 win after charge from 14th

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Charles Leclerc delivered a performance to remember in Sunday’s FIA Formula 2 sprint race at the Bahrain International Circuit, rolling the dice with a strategy that saw him charge from 14th to victory late on.

2016 GP3 champion and Ferrari junior Leclerc finished the first race of F2’s new era on Saturday in third place, securing P5 on the grid for Sunday’s sprint event.

Leclerc managed to fight his way into the lead with 14 laps to go, building up an advantage over the chasing pack before coming in to change tires despite it not being mandatory in the sprint race.

With the majority of the pack looking to complete the race without a stop and having to manage their tires, Leclerc found himself with a significant pace advantage in the final nine laps, lapping as much as four seconds per lap faster than his rivals.

The Monegasque racer picked his way up the order before passing Oliver Rowland and Luca Ghiotto on the final lap to complete a remarkable charge back from 14th place.

Ghiotto was left to settle for second ahead of Rowland, with the top three being covered by just 2.8 seconds at the checkered flag.

Nicholas Latifi bounced back from a tough race on Saturday to finish fourth for DAMS ahead of Jordan King and McLaren junior Nyck de Vries, with Alexander Albon finishing seventh. Saturday winner Artem Markelov tried replicating Leclerc’s strategy, but could only recover to eighth for Russian Time.

Hamilton tops second Abu Dhabi F1 practice with new track record

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Lewis Hamilton swept to the top of the timesheets in second Formula 1 practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Friday evening, beating Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel by one-tenth of a second.

Hamilton trailed Vettel through the daytime-run opening practice session, but managed to strike back by recording a new track record at the Yas Marina Circuit for Mercedes.

Hamilton recorded a fastest lap time of 1:37.877 to finish one-tenth of a second clear of Vettel at the checkered flag, appearing to have an edge across a single lap on the ultra-soft tire.

Red Bull threw its hat into the ring as a possible rival for pole through Daniel Ricciardo, who finished the session third-fastest, three-tenths of a second back from Hamilton at the head of the field.

Kimi Raikkonen ended FP2 in fourth place in the sister Ferrari, finishing within half a second of Hamilton, and managed to edge out fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas, who was a further two-tenths back in P5.

Max Verstappen failed to get in a quick flying lap during FP2, ending the session one second down in P6 for Red Bull.

Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon’s tight intra-team fight at Force India continued through FP2 as the pair were separated by just 0.01 seconds, taking seventh and eighth respectively to finish as the leading midfield drivers.

Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso completed the top 10 for Renault and McLaren, with Felipe Massa following in 11th for Williams on his final Friday appearance in F1.

Massa was fortunate to avoid an accident with Ricciardo during the final 15 minutes of the session after a mix up at the hairpin when the Brazilian tried to get a wider line for the back straight.

Running in Abu Dhabi continues with final practice at Yas Marina on Saturday morning from 5am ET on the NBC Sports app, followed by qualifying at 8am ET on NBCSN.