The driver of Campos Racing led most of the race but struggled with tires when it was coming to an end. His rivals, much more experienced – up to four seasons- with the F.2 car and tire management, prevented from race win on debut
Alex Palou debuted on his note in the FIA Formula 2 Championship with Campos Racing. The Spaniard performed extremely well both days at the Circuito de Jerez but his first win in the series almost came in Race 2. Swiss driver Ralph Boschung was making his way into points today but unfortunately was forced to retire on the very last lap.
During Friday’s free practice session, Palou posted a lap time of 1:26.287 but Boschung only completed three laps throughout the session. It damaged his chances to put more mileage under his belt as it was his very first time at the circuit. Later in qualifying, Palou clocked a lap time of 1:25.600 to take 11th spot on the grid and Boschung posted a lap of 1:26.647 to line up 20th.
In race one, Palou kept position on lap one and run in 11th before pitting on lap nine. Boschung put it a long first stint and made his mandatory pit stop for fresh tires on lap 23. Boschung passed several drivers such as Sean Gelael. But the Swiss driver was forced to retire four laps after his pit stop. When every driver had already pitted, Palou was running tenth and moved up to ninth when the safety car was deployed at the end of the race. Palou still improved further when overtook Nabil Jeffri to secure pole position for Sunday.
Today Palou made a perfect start and kept the lead and opened up a three-second gap. But in the second half of the race Palou began to struggle. So, Artem Markelov, Nicholas Latifi and Oliver Rowland caught him. It is important to mention that Markelov spent four seasons in the series and Latifi and Rowland two each. Their tire wear management proved to be essential when the race came to an end. Besides, Pirelli tire compounds were too soft for new asphalt abrasive conditions and it destroyed them. Last but not least, Palou couldn´t pit as he had no fresh tires from yesterday. Other drivers, who pitted earlier, such as Luca Ghiotto, Antonio Fuoco, Nick De Vryes and Charles Leclerc also passed Palou. Under normal conditions, Palou had won the race and considering in the worst possible scenario the Catalan driver would have finished fourth. Finally he picked up a point with 8th place. Boschung put in a good recovery drive from the back of the field and moved through the field to 12th but his engine failed on the last lap.
The FIA Formula 2 Championship will resume at the Yas Marina Circuit on 25-26 November.