Arthur ended a strong weekend with third place at the Albert Park circuit to secure his first Formula 2 podium. Oliver Bearman was out of luck.
Arthur Leclerc’s trip Down Under ended with his first Formula 2 podium. He finished a well-deserved third in the Feature Race at Albert Park at the end of an exciting and tough race. Thanks also to a fourth place in the Sprint race, Leclerc has moved up to fifth in the standings and also leads the rookie classification. “The Feature Race was very complicated,” commented Leclerc. “But my pace was good right from the opening laps. That meant I was able to make up places, but the closing stages were really tense as I had Frederik Vesti behind me on fresher tyres. It was crucial to be quick in the second sector to fend off attacks in the DRS zones and I managed it. In general it was a good weekend and apart from getting my first podium, it showed that the work we have done since the start of the season is going in the right direction and this makes me optimistic for the rest of the championship.” Oliver Bearman had a tougher time than expected in Melbourne. The British driver was seventh in the Sprint Race but several incidents meant he did not do as well as expected in the Feature Race.
Sprint Race. Leclerc and Bearman started from fourth and fifth respectively, with Oliver dropping to seventh on the opening lap, having been pushed off the track by Victor Martens, while Arthur stayed fourth. There were not many changes of position until the Safety Car came out on lap 14. It stayed out for six laps, during which time it began to rain slightly, so that the first two racing laps once the SC went in were very tricky. Leclerc put Maini under pressure for third place, but the slippery conditions meant any move was risky and Arthur finished in a good fourth place. Bearman was very aggressive on the last lap, pulling off a tight move on team-mate Vesti to come home in seventh.
Feature Race. The result of qualifying saw Bearman and Leclerc start from sixth and seventh places respectively and they both made up one place on the opening lap. However, Oliver was given a time penalty to add to his overall race time for a move deemed aggressive on Zane Maloney. Positions remained unchanged until lap 8 when the Safety Car came out. The two FDA drivers pitted but as Bearman moved into the fast lane in the pits, he was hit by Isaak Hadjar, picking up a puncture that meant he had to stop again, which dropped him to last place. When the run of pits stops was over, Leclerc was fifth, but once again the Safety Car came out following a two car collision. With three laps to the flag, the pack was racing once again and Leclerc pushed hard to take the chequered flag in third place, while Bearman came home 15th.