Pirelli at the centre of Formula 2 action in Azerbaijan
|Leclerc leads on P Zero Red supersoft tyres
at the start of the first race
For the second year running, incidents and safety cars characterised an action-packed weekend around the tight confines of the Baku City Circuit, with the 29-lap Feature Race ending four laps from the scheduled finish under a red flag. The clear majority of competitors chose to begin the race on the P Zero Red supersoft tyres, which had been nominated together with the P Zero White medium. Three drivers towards the back of the field chose to start on the slower but more durable mediums. Ferrari protégé Charles Leclerc led from pole and switched from the supersoft to the medium on lap seven, with all the supersoft starters making their pit stop shortly after the window opened on lap six. The top seven finishers all followed the same strategy as Leclerc. The highest- placed driver to start on the medium was Campos Racing’s Ralph Boschung, who eventually finished eighth and claimed reverse grid pole for Sunday’s race.
|Boschung and Ghiotto began on the P Zero White medium tyres
|Nato won the second race on P Zero White medium tyres
All the drivers chose the medium tyre for the 21-lap Sprint Race, where track temperatures again exceeded 50 degrees centigrade, making tyre management important. Starting from eighth, Leclerc crossed the line first after working his way up through the field. However, the championship leader was demoted to second with a 10-second penalty, meaning that Arden’s Norman Nato was the race winner. Quotes: Head of car racing Mario Isola said: “With high track temperatures and a performance gap between supersoft and medium, a supersoft-medium strategy with an early stop was the obvious solution in the Feature Race for those who had qualified well. But due to the high possibility of safety cars, something different was an option for those with less to lose. In the end, the Safety Car didn’t have a big effect on the strategy, but we certainly saw an entertaining race.” Charles Leclerc, the Formula 2 Feature race winner, added: “I wasn’t sure if my rivals were saving the tyres for the end or pushing, so I was trying to push as much as possible while managing my tyres as well. I was pushing a lot, but it went worked.” The next Formula 2 round takes place in Austria from July 8-9.
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