Ferrari junior Charles Leclerc wrapped up the 2017 FIA Formula 2 title in style by winning Saturday’s feature race at Jerez by just 0.2 seconds.
Leclerc moved up to F2 after winning the GP3 title last year, and had dominated the season ahead of the standalone round at Jerez that was announced to replace the scrapped event in support of the German Grand Prix.
Leclerc took pole position on Friday and entered Saturday’s race knowing victory would be enough to clinch the first F2 crown since GP2’s rebrand for 2017, with chief rival Oliver Rowland starting fourth.
Leclerc was able to retain his lead at the start and forge a healthy lead through the opening stages as Rowland worked his way up to second, only for a late safety car to bunch the field.
Struggling for grip, Leclerc came under heavy pressure from Rowland in the run to the flag, but was able to hang on and secure his sixth win of the season, wrapping up the title in the process.
Leclerc is widely expected to move up to Formula 1 next season with Sauber, which is set to enjoy an expanded technical partnership with Ferrari from 2018.
Supporting F2 at Jerez was GP3 where Mercedes-backed youngster George Russell secured the title with two races to spare, finishing fourth in Sunday’s event to forge a 40-point lead ahead of the double-header finale in Abu Dhabi next month.
Russell finished the race fifth on-track, but was promoted to fourth after Red Bull junior Niko Kari was given a post-race penalty for causing a collision with Dan Ticktum.
Both the F2 and GP3 seasons will come to a close in support of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix next month on November 25-26.