Sergio Sette-Camara has won his first Formula 2 race at today’s Sprint Race at Spa-Francorchamps.
The Brazilian youngster bossed the race from start to finish in what was a very impressive drive. Nick de Vries and Luca Ghiotto joined him on the podium, while Charles Leclerc had a sensational recovery drive.
Norman Nato started from reverse grid pole with Roberto Merhi alongside him but it was Sergio Sette-Camara who went into La Source first. The youngest driver in the field had a lightning getaway and simply went through the front-row starters. It got worse for Nato on the opening lap, Nick de Vries getting past the Frenchman on the run up the Kemmel straight.
After yesterday’s post-race disqualification of both Oliver Rowland and runaway championship leader, Charles Leclerc, the pair were starting from the back of the grid. We all knew that they weren’t going to stay there and had impressively made it up to 12th and 13th by the end of the first lap. Leclerc would then pull off a stunning move at Eau Rouge and overtake Rowland a lap later, the points were already in his sights.
Just a third of the way into the race, on Lap 6 of 18, Leclerc had already made it into the top 8. This isn’t the first time this season that the Ferrari young driver had scythed his way through the field and it appeared as if nothing could stop him making further progress. Two laps later, Antonio Fuoco, also a Ferrari young driver, pulled off a stunning move on Artem Markelov around the outside out Blanchimont. It was an overtake that was reminiscent of Max Verstappen’s a few years ago but unlike Verstappen, he couldn’t make it stick. Markelov stuck with Fuoco and used the DRS and slip-stream up the Kemmel straight to retake 6th place. To add insult to injury as well, Leclerc also made it past his fellow Prema driver.
There was now a train forming behind Norman Nato that ran all the way back to Fuoco in 8th but something had to give. Luca Ghiotto would complete a couple of overtakes on Roberto Merhi and Nato in the final few laps to stand on the podium with 3rd place. Leclerc would again leave out jaws on the floor with a brilliant manoeuvre on Markelov at Turn 13 and another overtake on Roberto Merhi. It would go from bad to worse for the Russian, retiring a few laps later with a mechanical issue.
We wouldn’t see any more overtaking, though, because Nobuhara Matsushita would have an awful crash at Eau Rogue. The Japanese driver followed too closely behind another car, lost downforce and the rear end and inevitably slammed into the barriers. Thankfully, he was alright, albeit with a limp and we would finish the race behind the Safety Car.
Sergio Sette-Camara lead from start to finish in what was a very impressive drive, Leclerc finish 5th after starting 19th, Merhi was a respectable 6th on his first F2 weekend for a long time and Oliver Rowland also made it into the points in 8th after also starting from the back.
P2: de Vries +0.6s
P3: Ghiotto +2.4s
P4: Nato +3.1s
P5: Leclerc +3.8s
P6: Merhi +4.8s
P7: Fuoco +5.4s
P8: Rowland +5.8s
P9: Latifi +6.6s
P10: Ferrucci +9.2s
P11: Malja +9.6s
P12: Deletraz +10.5s
P13: Boschung +10.8s
P14: King +11.0s
P15: Jeffri +12.0s
P16: Visoiu +13.7s
P17: Gelael +14.1s
P18: Albon +17.5s
Ret: Matsushita (Accident, 14 laps)
Ret: Markelov (Mechanical failure, 13 laps)
Fastest Lap: King – 2:00.040