Leclerc leads the way in Spielberg practice

Charles Leclerc
Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc has continued his sparkling run of form by topping today’s free practice session despite a late off-track moment at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria, with a strong lap of 1:14.356 to lead teammate Antonio Fuoco and Rapax’s Nyck De Vries by over three tenths at the flag in warm and dry conditions.

With the weather being notoriously changeable and the clouds drawing towards the Styrian circuit ahead of the session, fears of rain abounded all along the pitlane. Happily though the rain held off for the whole session, although all of the drivers were immediately on track when the lights went green to ensure as much running as possible.

On such a short track the time gaps were always likely to be close, and so it proved: Artem Markelov, Louis Deletraz, Antonio Fuoco, Leclerc and Nicholas Latifi all spent time on top of the timesheets before the Ferrari Academy driver annexed P1 at the 15 minute mark. With most of the grid concentrating on long run pace there were few changes to be made in the order, although Fuoco slid up to 2nd on the half hour, just ahead of De Vries.

With 5 minutes remaining the pace picked up once again: Leclerc showed he was pushing by locking up at turn 4 and running wide through the gravel before returning to the track, with Latifi running similarly wide at turn 9, but with 2 minutes to go Sergio Sette Camara stopped on track just before the pitlane entrance, prompting a VSC period until the checkered flag, which dropped just as the threatened rain began to fall.

Behind the top three Latifi and teammate Oliver Rowland, Sergio Canamasas, Nobuharu Matsushita, returnee Alexander Albon, Ralph Boschung and Luca Ghiotto rounded out the top ten: with just one second covering from P2 to P20 this afternoon’s qualifying session promises to be even more exciting than usual.

RESULTS

Pos

Driver

Team

Laptime

Laps

1.

Charles Leclerc

PREMA Racing

1:14.356

25

2.

Antonio Fuoco

PREMA Racing

1:14.721

23

3.

Nyck De Vries

Rapax

1:14.730

24

4.

Nicholas Latifi

DAMS

1:14.822

27

5.

Oliver Rowland

DAMS

1:14.865

25

6.

Sergio Canamasas

Rapax

1:14.877

23

7.

Nobuharu Matsushita

ART Grand Prix

1:14.915

20

8.

Alexander Albon

ART Grand Prix

1:14.951

26

9.

Ralph Boschung

Campos Racing

1:15.029

20

10.

Luca Ghiotto

RUSSIAN TIME

1:15.031

23

11.

Norman Nato

Pertamina Arden

1:15.066

28

12.

Artem Markelov

RUSSIAN TIME

1:15.081

24

13.

Jordan King

MP Motorsport

1:15.099

26

14.

Sean Gelael

Pertamina Arden

1:15.100

25

15.

Sergio Sette Camara

MP Motorsport

1:15.174

20

16.

Louise Deletraz

Racing Engineering

1:15.246

26

17.

Gustav Malja

Racing Engineering

1:15.480

24

18.

Raffaele Marciello

Trident

1:15.488

25

19.

Robert Visoiu

Campos Racing

1:15.554

26

20.

Nabil Jeffri

Trident

1:15.643

26

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