At Spielberg, Oliver Bearman staged two great climbs up the order from 19th at the start. A pit stop problem ended Arthur Leclerc’s Feature Race.
The seventh round of the Formula 2 championship saw a major show of strength from Oliver Bearman. Problems in qualifying meant the Englishman started both the Sprint and Feature races from 19th place, so that the rest of the weekend started on the back foot. Bearman did not lose heart, charging up the order to finish the two races in ninth and fifth places respectively. The points scored mean Oliver has hung onto fourth place in the championship, without losing ground to those ahead of him. “I’m happy with the way I came through the field,” commented Bearman. “Obviously my start position was a big disadvantage and I have to say sorry for the team for the mistake I made in Friday qualifying. But I did limit the damage and in the Feature Race we made the right strategy call and the car was fantastic. These are two points that make me optimistic for the coming races. I know that a better qualifying will mean we can aim for better results starting in Silverstone next weekend.”
Arthur. An unhappy weekend for Leclerc. After qualifying well, in the Sprint Race, Arthur paid the price for starting the race on rain tyres, which proved to be the wrong call. In the Feature Race, he moved up the order well, but it was all for nothing, after he lost a wheel badly fitted during the pit stop. The Monegasque will be looking to make amends next weekend in Silverstone.
Sprint Race. Track conditions meant it was hard to decide what was the best tyre choice for the start, with some areas still very wet, while others were beginning to dry out. Leclerc and Bearman opoted for rain tyres, which paid off in the early stages. Arthur was very aggressive off the line from fourth place and he took the lead going into turn 4. Then the Safety Car came out when a car got stuck in a gravel trap and Bearman grabbed the opportunity to pit for slicks, with Leclerc doing the same six laps later, again when the Safety Car made an appearance. When everyone was on slicks, Bearman was 16th, with Leclerc 18th. Oliver began to move up the order and took the chequered flag in ninth place, while Arthur had to settle for 15th. “We made the wrong tyre choice for the start,” reckoned Bearman, “But that’s easy to say with hindsight, because at the time it seemed the right thing to do. The pace on slicks was very good and I was able to pass a lot of cars, making up a lot of places.”
Feature Race. The main race of the Austrian weekend was held in completely dry conditions. Leclerc started from row 4 and Bearman from row 10, both opting to start on the hard tyre, which allowed them to make up some places in the first half of the race. Arthur got up to fourth place, with Bearman really impressing as he sat behind Leclerc. Both of them pitted on lap 26, but a few corners later, Arthur had to stop the car at the side of the track, having lost his right rear wheel, which had been incorrectly fitted at the stop. This brought out the Safety Car and the field bunched up, which played into the hands of those who had yet to change tyres. Bearman was 12th but after the restart he started to push for the final six laps which saw him climb all the way up to fifth at the flag. It was an exciting end to a weekend that had several positives for the FDA duo.