Bright blue skies beamed across the Circuito de Jerez for the penultimate race of the 2017 Formula 2 season with Antonio in fine form on the back of an amazing first win of the season and that ever so important home win in Monza.
It was predicted to be a hot weekend in Jerez and indeed it was with temperatures soaring to 30c for Saturday and Sunday, which was great news for Antonio Fuoco’s race engineer and would allow them to focus on a dry race strategy.
The weekend got underway on Thursday with Antonio Fuoco ready to suit back up and get back on track. Free Practice saw Antonio Fuoco zoom around Circuit de Jerez with his fastest at 1:26.247 after completing 13 laps during the session.
After a difficult Qualifying session Antonio Fuoco started on the grid in P15 with his session’s best time of 1:25.739, which Antonio would need to roll up his sleeves to battle his way through the grid to find a way to the podium.
Antonio lined up on the grid in position and fired up the Prema Racing number 2 and prepared for an electric start to the race.
Temperatures soared on the grid as cars lined up behind the pole sitter and teammate to Antonio, Charles Le Clerc. Moments later, it was lights out for the Formula 2 grid as they raced down to the first few corners all jostling for position. From Antonio Fuoco’s great start off the line he had propelled his car up through the grid.
In the early parts of the race, there were no early dramas as Antonio continued to pressure his immediate rivals on track. The pit window opened on lap 7, with a number of cars taking the option to switch to the fresh soft compound tyre.
Antonio’s strategy was to run long into the feature race and swap his worn tyres for new in the latter stages of the Jerez GP. Fortunately for Antonio Fuoco, after lap 19 an incident ahead of him on the circuit prompted the Safety Car to feature whilst track officials repaired the barriers.
It was a full on race to the finish line for Antonio Fuoco whilst staying strong in third position and after 39 intense laps, the chequered flag waved down with Antonio Fuoco scoring another podium finish – P3!
The excitement was building up for the sprint race, a different encounter versus the feature race. For 28 laps Antonio would go head-to-head with nineteen of the other Formula 2 contenders in slightly cooler conditions than the midday heat.
The two Prema Team drivers raced off into the distance when it was lights out for the Jerez GP race 2. There were no early incidents and by lap 12 the pit window opened up and Antonio Fuoco was the first to dive in for fresh rubber.
Naturally Antonio had dropped down the order whilst the cars came in and out of the pitlane and would need a few laps to retain the original order in hope that Antonio had kept his position at the front of the race.
The top 5 cars of Fuoco, Ghiotto, Rowland, Latifi and Markelov all battled to the end, but it was Markelov who stormed out in front. There was an intense finish to the sprint race with Antonio Fuoco hot the tails of the top 4 and narrowly missing out on another podium in fifth.
Next, the Formula 2 Series heads to the season finale at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi at the end of November. Join us from 24th – 26th November for the end of season action from the Prema Team and Antonio Fuoco in hope of standing proud of the podium again.