Louis Delétraz was denied the chance to convert his impressive qualifying pace into a pair of strong FIA Formula 2 Championship race results in Hungary this weekend after suffering at the hands of a freak technical failure.
The Swiss driver started the eighth round of the series brightly as he carried the speed that took him to a P2 finish at Silverstone last month into Friday’s all-important qualifying session. His reward was a P5 starting slot for Saturday’s Feature Race at the Hungaroring circuit.
“Quali was great for me,” the ADSS-supported driver said. “I felt really confident in the wet conditions and I was pleased to secure a place at the front of the grid, especially as overtaking is so difficult here.”
With confidence high, Louis made a strong start to his first race of the weekend and quickly settled into a good rhythm. However, his charge ended abruptly after three laps when the main hydraulic line on his Carlin car ruptured, disabling all of the vital systems. He retired immediately.
“The hydraulic line failed totally unexpectedly and I lost all of the fluid over the exhaust,” Louis explained. “When this happens, you cannot do anything. The clutch goes, the gear shift stops – nothing works. The team is looking into why it happened because it’s a freak incident.”
Unfortunately, with the results of the first race deciding the grid for Sunday’s Sprint Race, Louis had to start the 28-lap encounter from P20.
Although it’s notoriously difficult to overtake at the tight and twisty Hungaroring, Louis’ determined drive moved him seven places up the order and he took the chequered flag in P13.
Sadly, it was little consolation for the 22-year-old who was left frustrated at how his promising weekend had turned out.
“I was quick in the second race, saved my tyres and made up some good positions, but the hydraulic issue basically threw the weekend away,” he said.
“It’s more than frustrating because it’s another event where a technical issue has stopped us scoring some big points. It’s ruining the season.”
The completion of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend marks the start of the F2 championship’s four-week summer break. Louis will return to the cockpit at Spa Francorchamps in Belgium on 30 August – 1 September.
He added: “The break will be good for everyone. We can analyse everything, recharge the batteries and push to make the most of the four events that are left.”