Oliver Bearman finished the Sprint Race in third place, his fourth podium finish of the season. Arthur Leclerc had a difficult weekend, due to a problem with his chassis, which was changed after qualifying.
The ninth round of the Formula 2 championship proved to be a tricky one for the Ferrari Driver Academy duo. Oliver Bearman was third in the Sprint Race, but missed out on points in the Feature Race, finishing 12th. As for Arthur Leclerc, there was a problem with his chassis in qualifying and he therefore started both races from the ninth row of the grid, finishing 15th and 13th in the races. Bearman’s weekend started well with a return to the podium but the Feature Race did not live up to expectations. “It was a difficult race, because we couldn’t match the pace of the leaders, which complicated matters,” explained Oliver. Getting on the podium was very good in terms of the championship, but we need to regroup to tackle next weekend’s round at Spa-Francorchamps in top form.” Leclerc clearly lacked pace in free practice and qualifying and a detailed check of the car revealed a problem with the chassis. “I’d like to thank the teams for the amazing they did in building up the car around a new chassis,” commented Arthur. “It was completely ready for me to get on track for the Sprint Race. The situation then improved a lot and my pace was competitive, but unfortunately my grid position meant it was impossible for me to get into the points. But I’m confident for the next round in Belgium so I can’t wait to be back on track in just a few days.”
Sprint Race. As expected, the first race in Budapest saw very few changes of position. Bearman started from fourth on the grid and in the early stages, he moved up to third. The biggest challenge for all the drivers was tyre management and Oliver stuck to the pace decided on earlier with his engineers, running fourth again. This strategy paid off in the closing stages as Bearman was able to move up third by passing Theo Pourchaire to be sure of a podium finish. “It was a great race,” commented the Englishman. “It was important to be back in the top 3 and I’m pleased about it as at the start of the race, I was blocked a bit on the outside of the first corner and lost a few places. But we planned for a long race and it paid off.” Leclerc started from 17th place, putting in some good lap times but then he was the innocent victim of a collision involving Ralph Boschung and Clement Novalak. It cost Arthur a lot of time and he took the chequered flag in 15th place.
Feature Race. Bearman and Leclerc were seventh and 17th respectively on the grid for the Feature Race. The main concern for all competitors was the risk of excessive tyre degradation in the very hot conditions. Arthur and Oliver both started on Hard tyres, which put them at a performance disadvantage early on, but meant that they were able to go long, only pitting on lap 20 of 37 to fit Softs. But Bearman did not have the pace he expected, while Leclerc put in some very quick laps in his second stint, to finish 13th right behind Oliver.