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Leclerc admits surprise over Formula 2 results in 2017

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Charles Leclerc has admitted he is surprised by his domination of the FIA Formula 2 championship through 2017, but is refusing to relent in his bid to step up to Formula 1 in the near future.

Leclerc, 19, stepped up to F2 for 2017 after winning the GP3 title last year, and has swept the competition away so far this season with five race wins and six pole positions to open up a 50-point lead at the top of the championship standings.

The Monegasque racer recently tested an F1 car for Ferrari and has been linked with a drive at Sauber for 2018, but does not feel any extra pressure despite the speculation surrounding him.

“The results in this first part of the season have been better than expected and we’re clearly delighted about that,” Leclerc told the official F1 website.

“Seeing my name in the media more often and having it linked to Formula 1 and Ferrari is nice, but it’s not putting any extra pressure on me.

“There’s never a day goes by when I don’t think about what I want to achieve and I always give a hundred percent to get there.

“Being in Formula 1 is my dream and my goal and I am doing everything I can to make it happen.”

While Leclerc is being touted as a future Ferrari driver, he is remaining focused on the job at hand: winning the F2 title in 2017.

“Yes, it’s true, racing for the Scuderia would be the realization of a dream,” Leclec said.

“But for now I have to focus solely on winning in F2, on giving it my all over the next few months.

“If I don’t succeed, then I won’t really go much further.”

Leclerc goes six for six on 2017 F2 poles at Silverstone

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Charles Leclerc continued his perfect run of pole positions in Formula 2 after topping qualifying for the sixth time this season on Friday at Silverstone.

Leclerc moved up to F2 for 2017 after winning the GP3 title last year, and is already on a march to back-to-back championships after a stunning start to the season for Prema Racing.

Leclerc arrived at Silverstone 49 points clear in the drivers’ standings, and extended his advantage to 53 by picking up four bonus points for taking his sixth straight pole on Friday.

The Ferrari racer finished four-tenths of a second clear of title rival and home favorite Oliver Rowland through qualifying, turning in a best lap time of 1:38.427.

Norman Nato took third place for Arden ahead of Jordan King and Artem Markelov, who rounded out the top five.

The Formula 2 races from Silverstone will be streamed live on the NBC Sports app this weekend at the following times:

Feature Race: 7/15 10:00am ET – STREAM
Sprint Race: 8/15 4:20am ET – STREAM

Leclerc wins Saturday, spins Sunday, extends F2 points lead

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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.

Charles Leclerc grabs fifth straight Formula 2 pole in Austria

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Ferrari junior Charles Leclerc continued his perfect pole position record in Formula 2 by topping qualifying at the Red Bull Ring in Austria on Saturday, extending his championship lead in the process.

2016 GP3 champion Leclerc stepped up to F2 – rebranded after operating as GP2 since 2005 – for 2017 and has immediately impressed in the series, enjoying a 42-point lead in the drivers’ championship heading into this weekend’s round in Austria.

Leclerc took his fifth pole in five races in Saturday’s qualifying session for Prema Racing, turning in a fastest lap of 1:13.396 to finish three-tenths of a second clear at the head of the field, as well as picking up two bonus points.

Leclerc finished ahead of MP Motorsport’s Sergio Sette Camara in P2, the Brazilian still doing enough to secure his first front row start in F2 despite spinning out on his final lap.

Leclerc’s Prema teammate and fellow Ferrari junior Antonio Fuoco took third, while Alexander Albon qualified fourth upon his return from a collarbone injury.

Oliver Rowland’s hopes of cutting the gap to Leclerc in the championship were dealt a blow as he could only qualify fifth, with Honda youngster Nobuharu Matsushita taking P6.

McLaren junior Nyck de Vries was seventh ahead of Luca Ghiotto and Nicholas Latifi while Norman Nato completed the top 10.

Charles Leclerc takes second straight F2 pole in Spain

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Charles Leclerc picked up his second straight Formula 2 pole position on Friday in Barcelona, edging out Luca Ghiotto to take P1 for the start of Saturday’s feature race.

2016 GP3 champion and Ferrari junior Leclerc made an immediate impression in his debut F2 weekend last month in Bahrain, taking pole and finishing on the podium on Saturday before charging to a remarkable race win in the sprint event on the Sunday.

The Monegasque racer continued his impressive start to life in the category by taking pole for Prema Racing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, going almost two-tenths of a second faster than Ghiotto to nab pole away in the dying minutes of the session.

McLaren junior Nyck de Vries qualified third ahead of British youngster Jordan King, while Alexander Albon and Oliver Rowland finished fifth and sixth respectively.

Norman Nato will start seventh on Saturday for Arden, with Antonio Fuoco and Nicholas Latifi eighth and ninth respectively. Nobuharu Matsushita will round out the top 10 on the grid tomorrow.