Could there be a better picture in motorsport? Bright sun beamed across the green Styrian Hills, illuminating the Red Bull Ring complex below, all to the sound of 20 Formula 2’s cars with the stars of the future battling it out for race honours.
This exciting scenario boosted Antonio Fuoco’s mood, which helped the young racy Italian and the Prema Team to dominate another race weekend.
After an intense Austrian GP Qualifying session which saw the championship leader dominate the session and top the time sheet, his teammate Antonio Fuoco, who was also looking to get his challenge for the title back on track qualified in third position! Controversy would strike later on, as F2 championship rival Sette Camara would be disqualified for not meeting FIA standards of the amount of fuel onboard for the car weigh-in, resulting in Antonio promoted to the front row of the grid in P2, alongside Charles Le Clerc
Would sparks fly with the Prema Team at the front of the grid? The race debrief assured that the team have strict measures in place to race strategically to score maximum points, but would also allow both Clarles Le Clerc and Antonio Fuoco to race from the start.
Bright sun and warming track conditions in the Red Bull Ring made for a hot start to the race with temperatures reaching 30c and on-track nearly 50c. Tyre management would be key with Antonio starting on the Soft Tyres.
After the formation lap, cars lined up on the grid to wait for the lights to go. Antonio launched off the line and raced down to turn one with his teammate, Charles Le Clerc, alongside him. To avoid contact Antonio backed out and followed his teammate through the first few laps with less half a second between the pair.
As the pit window opened, the Prema Team’s strategy was to go long in the race and pit in the closing stages of the race to give them a fastest last stint. Like clockwork, Antonio Fuoco made his stop for the Supersoft tyres on Lap 31. With no more scheduled stops, Antonio was free to race until the chequered flag.
It was an intense fight to the end, with Antonio reaching the end of 40 laps in third place to claim his first podium of the F2 season. A delighted Antonio stood proud on the podium cheering with his trophy in hand.
Antonio said: “Yeah, it was quite hard at the end! We did a quite good start, we managed the tyres until midway through the race, and then in the last part of the first stint I had some degradation so I had to pit a lap earlier than Charles. When we went out with the supersofts I was behind Rowland, and then I passed him but I saw Nicholas coming fast in the mirrors so I decided to let him go, and I tried to defend from Rowland. I think it was quite good to be back on the podium, and it’s the first time for me here but I think I was just unlucky until this moment, but now we are back and we need to keep pushing. Now we need to keep pushing: this is a good result for me and for the team, they are pushing really hard and giving everything for me, so I think it’s really good and we can look for tomorrow.”
It was a bright and early start to the day with track temperatures significantly lower than those from yesterdays race. However, with a reverse grid in place, Antonio Fuoco would start in P6 for the much shorter second race – the sprint race of 28 laps.
It was lights out for the second race around the Red Bull Ring! It was drama from the start with Antonio having to dodge a stalling car, with a superb move to zoom past. The race would barely start before a Safety Car was needed to clean up debris from the incident that Antonio had managed to miss.
Moments later, the race would restart after a second Safety Car was needed just a few laps after the first restart. With Antonio focused, he raced by and up into fourth and would continue the fight to reach podium until lap 24.
A charging Ghiotta overtook three competitors, including Antonio to take fourth spot meaning Antonio Fuoco crossed the line at the end of race two in fifth place, scoring more points for his championship.
There’s no break with the busy end of the Formula 2 season
now ramping up, next up is a trip to the exciting Silverstone Circuit for the next
round on July 13th – 16th for the F2 British GP.