Switzerland’s Louis Delétraz secured the best results of his FIA Formula 2 Championship career in Monaco this weekend as he battled to P2 in the Sprint Race and scored a P4 finish in the Feature Race.
The 21-year-old came into the fourth round of the series with a keen eye on securing his first points of the season. And the ADS Securities-supported driver didn’t disappoint as he delivered one of the best race weekends of his career.
His Monaco Grand Prix programme got off to a confident start on Thursday as he guided his Charouz Racing System car to P8 in practice. Unfortunately, a session-ending red flag denied Louis his last push lap in qualifying and that meant he lined up P14 for Saturday’s Feature Race.
But Louis’ Monaco pace was better than his grid slot suggested as the 40-lap race got underway. He immediately gained four places on the opening lap and was riding high in P8 when he darted into the pits to switch from supersoft to soft Pirelli tyres.
With the leading drivers on an alternative strategy going longer into the race, Louis was confident his strategy would allow an undercut and, as the race order fell back into place after all the pit stops were complete, Louis took the chequered flag in P4 and scored 12 championship points.
Friday’s success gave Louis a P5 grid slot for Saturday’s 30-lap Sprint Race on Monaco’s tight and twisty street circuit.
Once again, he showed fantastic pace as he bravely overtook two of his rivals around the outside of Turn Three on the opening lap. That put Louis into P3 and he set about preserving his position.
But it wasn’t going to be easy. An electrical problem hit Louis’ car on the eighth lap, causing him to lose all the data on his steering wheel display. Then, his car presented gearbox downshifting problems five laps later.
To compound things, Feature Race winner Artem Markelov started to challenge Louis hard for his third position.
With the odds stacked against him, Louis delivered a masterful and determined drive that allowed him to overcome his technical challenges and, crucially, keep Markelov at bay.
Although Louis took to the third step of the podium after the race, he received an extra boost on Saturday night when he was promoted into P2, a legacy of Lando Norris picking up a post-race penalty.
That guaranteed Louis his first P2 finish and podium in the F2 category and a Sprint Race one-two for his Charouz Racing System team after Antonio Fuoco won the race.
“It’s such an incredible feeling to come away from a place like Monaco with P2 and P4 finishes, especially after all the hard races I’ve had so far this year,” Louis explained. “I think these results are well deserved and highlight the perfect job that the whole team has done. Getting a double podium here is simply amazing!”
Louis admitted his Sprint Race podium was hard earned, particularly as technical issues presented themselves as he was battling to keep ahead of the determined Markelov.
“That was the hardest race of my life by far,” he revealed afterwards. “It was impossible to drive how I wanted with the electronic issue and downshifting problems. Then Markelov put me under incredible pressure as well.
“I couldn’t afford to make a mistake. I just tried to focus on doing everything in my power to keep him behind by blocking the door. Thankfully, it worked out. It’s an incredible feeling.”
With the Monaco Grand Prix weekend now complete, Louis now has a four-week break until he returns to the F2 cockpit at Paul Ricard in France on 22-24 June.