Good fortune deserted Louis Delétraz at the second round of the FIA Formula 2 Championship in Azerbaijan this weekend as he was denied the chance to turn his proven pace into the results he wanted.
The 22-year-old arrived at the Baku City Circuit in good form after performing well during the opening races of the season in Bahrain last month. However, he was unable to add to his points total and build on his fourth place in the drivers’ standings after encountering trouble on Baku’s tricky street track.
An uncharacteristic front-wheel lock up during Friday’s qualifying session meant the ADSS driver dropped eight-tenths of a second in the final timed sector against his previous best and he therefore had to start Saturday’s 29-lap Feature Race from P12 on the grid.
But Louis immediately used his strong pace and impressive skills to move up the order as the race unfolded.
Unfortunately, while he was positioned in P9 – comfortably inside the point-scoring positions and eyeing a move further up the leaderboard – he had contact with another car during a chaotic Safety Car restart and was forced to retire with damage.
“I knew I would be quicker than the cars in front on the restart and I had saved my tyres as well,” Louis explained. “Unfortunately, the restart was a mess ahead of me and some of the cars crashed. That caused the rest of the queue to squeeze and I had nowhere to go other than into the car in front of me.
“It was really frustrating because I think there was a top-five finish for me in that race.”
Saturday’s retirement placed Louis P15 on the grid for Sunday’s Sprint Race, a 21-lap encounter in which he was determined to make amends.
However, luck was against the Swiss driver for a second time as he was cruelly collected by two other cars that had tangled at Turn 2. The heavy impact pushed Louis’ Carlin car off the track and his race was over.
He said: “There was absolutely nothing I could do about the second race. Someone else had a accident and took me out at the same time. That’s what can happen in Baku.”
With the third round of the F2 series in Spain only two weeks’ away, Louis doesn’t have long to wait to get back on the track and push for the results he knows he and his team are capable of. He hopes his experiences in Baku will have used up his quota of back luck for the rest of the season.
“Baku is a very strange weekend and it’s been a bad one for me,” he added. “It’s frustrating to miss out on points but I’m hoping all of these bad things from Baku will go away now and won’t repeat themselves again. I’ll definitely be trying to strike back in Barcelona.”