Louis Delétraz endured a frustrating return to the Sochi Autodrom as an unfortunate Feature Race collision wrecked his weekend prospects at the 10th round of the FIA Formula 2 Championship.
The Swiss driver was aiming to continue his recent good form that led to a double podium finish at the previous round in Mugello earlier this month. But good fortune wasn’t on his side in Russia.
Having started Saturday’s Feature Race from P13 on the grid, Louis was an innocent bystander in an opening lap, multi-car collision at Turn 2. With damage to his car, he was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop for repairs.
Louis’ Charouz Racing System team fitted a new front wing but the time taken pushed the 23-year-old into unfamiliar surroundings at the back of the field.
Determined to salvage a result, Louis demonstrated his speed by setting the fastest lap of the race but was unable to classify any higher than P18.
“I don’t blame anyone for the crash, it’s one of those things that can happen on the first lap as people fight for position,” Louis explained.
“I was alongside one car and then got sandwiched. I tried pulling out of it but before I had time to do anything I had my front wing clipped and it went under the car. I think five or six cars were involved. It was wrong place at the wrong time.
“I couldn’t catch the Safety Car so we saved tyres and hoped for another Safety Car period. Unfortunately, it never came and that was our race done.
“The aspect we have to improve is our qualifying pace. If we were higher up the grid we would have avoided this accident.”
Louis lined up P18 for Sunday’s Sprint Race and immediately made up a place off the line. But further progress was halted when the race was red-flagged after an accident at Turn 3 involving Jack Aitken and Luca Ghiotto.
With extensive damage to the barriers, organisers called the race off with only seven laps of the scheduled 21 completed.
“At the start, I planned on tyre management and then after just a few laps the race was over,” Louis said. “That just compounded the frustration of a really difficult weekend for us and we leave with zero points.”
Despite a challenging weekend, Louis has maintained his P7 in the F2 Drivers’ Championship with 122 points.
Louis now has a two-month break from Formula 2 action. The penultimate round of the series in Bahrain is scheduled to take place on 27-29 November.