Callum Ilott maintained his position at the top of the FIA Formula Two Championship standings after another successful weekend at Barcelona which saw him secure his third pole of the year and score points in both races.
Marking six out of six top-three qualifying results, Callum got his weekend off to a perfect start by securing pole position in Barcelona and collecting four more championship points in doing so.
The Feature Race saw Callum get beaten into turn one by Robert Shwartzman but Callum remained hot on his tail and soon passed him to retake the lead of the race a few laps later. Callum then dominated the race before a late safety car forced him to pit for the second time in the race to cover off the drivers on fresher tyres.
Falling back to second place, Callum pushed hard to retake the lead but, unfortunately, found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and fell down the order to finish the race in 5th place.
Starting the Sprint Race from 4th place, Callum pulled off a sensational move around the outside of Schumacher at turn one to put himself into the podium places. Callum then commanded the position until the final ten laps when he suddenly experienced severe tyre degradation.
Callum then dropped down the order to a P8 finish to pick up one point and keep his advantage at the top of the championship standings to 18 points.
The FIA Formula Two Championship resumes in Belgium at the Circuit Spa-Francorchamps in two weeks time (28 - 30 August).
“It was a great call by me and my engineer to go out early on the final runs in qualifying and get a good free track. This worked perfectly and I put in a good lap. What can I say? It's pole and it's always nice to go into the weekend with a good job done already.
Saturday's Feature Race was extremely frustrating. I lost the start to Shwartzman but knew I had the pace to get the position back so just kept patient. I passed him a few laps later and after that, it was the perfect race. My pace was strong and we were managing the tyres really well but then the safety car came out.
We knew a few drivers on the alternate strategy were on fresher, softer rubber, so we had to cover them off or I would have been a sitting duck. I came back out in P2 and after the restart, was pushing hard to get back the lead.
Fighting with Tsunoda, Matsushita was able to take advantage of our scrap and managed to get through. I then tried to go around the outside of Matsushita but was forced to back out, which cost me another couple of places to Shwartzman and Mazepin and I eventually finished P5.
In the sprint race, I got an average start off the line but saw the opportunity to go to the outside of Schumacher and stuck with it and really enjoyed that move! I was running well in P3 and everything seemed to be going fine until the last ten laps. Then, the tyres just dropped off a cliff and I lost so much grip.
From then on, I was struggling to match the guys around me and dropped down the order. There's definitely a lot for us to look at and work on before we head to Spa as we just didn't get it right as a team this weekend and were caught out by the tyre degradation. I still managed to keep the lead in the title fight and maintain the gap, so I can't be too disappointed with how my weekend went.”
Photo Credit: Formula Motorsport Limited