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.
The Circuit of The Americas paddock ahead of the United States Grand Prix may have been busy with teams and drivers preparing for lights out, but much of the attention lay with a number of headline guests including former presidents and Olympic champions.
As part of its plans to up the excitement levels ahead of Sunday’s grand prix and mirror other sporting events, F1’s new owner, Liberty Media, announced plans a couple of weeks ago to link up with iconic boxing announcer Michael Buffer and eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt for the pre-race festivities.
Ahead of today’s race in Austin, Buffer will introduce the drivers in a number of groups before offering the call for drivers to start their engines, similar to the pre-race procedure for the Indianapolis 500.
Honorary race starter Bolt, who competed in his last athletic world championship event in London earlier this year, will appear on the start line to complete his signature victory pose before waving the green flags to launch the formation lap.
Bolt was also treated to a hot lap around COTA by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton before the start of the formal pre-race build up program in Austin.
Liberty issued a list of celebrities and other public figures who are confirmed to be attending today’s race, including Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden and actor Owen Wilson among others.
One name that wasn’t on the list? 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, who quickly became a focus for the paddock upon arrival three hours before lights out.
The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and NBC Sports app from 2pm ET today.