Despite narrowly missing out on the chance to add to his FIA Formula 2 Championship points tally in Hungary this weekend (27-29 July), Louis Delétraz believes he can take a number of positives from the eighth round of the series.
The Charouz Racing System driver’s pace was hugely impressive across the entire weekend but trouble in Saturday’s Feature Race meant he wasn’t able to score the results his pace warranted and he was frustrated to leave the event with P17 and P9 finishes to his name.
The weekend started encouragingly as the ADSS Group-supported driver secured P10 during Friday’s qualifying session on the 4.38km Hungaroring circuit.
And with heavy rain falling on the track before the 34-lap Feature Race, Louis was confident he could excel in the slippery conditions and that the podium positions were a more than a realistic target.
Unfortunately, his ambitions were dashed when he was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop for a new nose cone at the end of the very first lap.
The two-time podium finisher had picked up some damage after contact with a rival’s car that had unexpectedly slowed with a technical problem.
“Max Günther had a problem on the first lap and was driving slowly. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see him in the spray and I made contact and flew over the back of his car,” Louis explained.
“Nobody was to blame because the visibility is compromised in these conditions. It was just a shame I couldn’t use my race pace in both the wet and dry conditions to make the impact I wanted.”
That meant Louis started Sunday’s dry Sprint Race from P17 on the grid. The 21-year-old was determined to end his weekend on a high and his impressive tyre management skills enabled him to scythe his way through the field.
After making a confident start, he successfully picked off a number of cars ahead of him before claiming another four positions during the last four laps of the race.
With bags of pace at his disposal, Louis pushed championship leader George Russell hard for P8 in the final sequence of corners but he just ran out of time to make the pass and had to settle for P9 – 0.55sec shy of a welcome championship point.
“Today’s race was great,” Louis said. “When you’re starting from P17, it’s not easy to get a good result. But I was determined and I knew the tyres would be a key factor and they would need to be kept safe.
“I had some excellent pace and I was fighting for the whole race. I think if I’d had another lap I would have overtaken George for a point, but it wasn’t possible. I think I did the maximum I could – big thanks to the team for working so hard to give me an excellent car.”
With a four-week break before the F2 championship resumes at Spa-Francorchamps (24-26 August), Louis knows he has the speed to score a healthy number of points during the four events that remain in 2018. But he knows he has to avoid Feature Race trouble to give himself the best possible chance.
“Overall, we’ve been one of the quickest drivers at every event this season and that gives me hope because there are a lot of points available before the season finishes. What we cant afford to do is miss the target in race one because that compromises the rest of your weekend. If we can do that, we’ll get the points we deserve,” he said.