Louis Delétraz continued his impressive streak of top-10 finishes in the FIA Formula 2 Championship at Monza in Italy this weekend.
The F2 field travelled straight from Belgium to the home of the Italian Grand Prix for the eighth round of the season, where the Monza circuit requires teams to run a low-downforce set-up to maximise straight-line speed.
Louis qualified P9 for the opening Feature Race – but a much greater result was within reach had the session not been halted prematurely when Mick Schumacher crashed at the Ascari chicane.
“In terms of qualifying pace, it was fairly decent,” the 23-year-old explained. “Before the red flag, I was basically on for a pole position lap. I was half a tenth down in sector two but about to get a great tow in sector three. Sadly, the red flag then came out. It was disappointing we didn’t get the pay-off from the situation we had created.”
Louis made early gains as the Feature Race unfolded on Saturday afternoon. Running the customary option/prime tyre strategy, the Haas F1 Team test and reserve driver was locked in a frantic slipstream battle for much of the race before completing the 30-lap distance in P8.
The Charouz Racing System driver said: “We didn’t get the strategy we wanted in the first race as we had to protect from the undercut, so that meant stopping early for tyres. But the pace itself was decent. It’s not perfect, but it is getting better.
“The team also did the fastest pit stops again which is a great achievement when the pressure is on.”
Louis started Sunday morning’s reversed-grid Sprint Race from pole position, but unfortunately relinquished the lead off the line and, without a slipstream, was vulnerable to an attack from the drivers behind who had DRS.
The Swiss driver was part of the front-running battle for the 21-lap race, but just missed out on adding a third podium of the year to his collection as he finished P4.
With another 12 points in the bag at Monza, Louis increased his total to 93 with eight races remaining.
The result extended his run of top-10 finishes to 12 races, and also ensured he scored valuable points for the 11th time in the last 12 races.
“My start was okay but we were missing a bit of top-end speed and I was not 100 per cent happy with the car, missing a few tenths a lap,” Louis said. “That meant we were dropped in the DRS train and couldn’t do more than P4.
“It’s still points, and we are towards the front again, but it is a bit frustrating not to have more of a reward.”
Louis’ F2 programme will continue next weekend (11-13 September) when the series stays in Italy, but heads to the Mugello Circuit.