For much of the F2 feature race in Jerez it looked as though Leclerc was cruising to the title, but a late safety car changed everything
All Charles Leclerc had to do to become 2017 Formula 2 champion was win the first race of this weekend’s event in Jerez. His job was made considerably easier on the narrow, twisty circuit by taking a record eighth pole of the season, and for much of the race he was comfortably out at the front.
But a late-race collision between Nobuharu Matsushita and Santino Ferrucci brought out the safety car. With tyre wear being particularly high, that gave a chance to a few drivers behind Leclerc who were on much better rubber.
To make things that bit more challenging, there were also a couple of backmarkers who wouldn’t get out of the way because the Jerez marshals apparently forgot to bring their blue flags.
Despite the chaos unfolding behind him, Leclerc just about managed to hold off title rival Oliver Rowland to win the race and become champion.
The madness even continued after the flag, when organisers played the wrong national anthem on the podium.
Even though he’s won the title with three races still to go (which is an absolute age in F2 terms), such has been Leclerc’s dominance that he could easily have wrapped things up much longer ago were it not for a few mechanical issues, of which he’s had more than his fair share.
By now, we all know how good he is, so I guess the only thing left to find out now is this: exactly when is Sauber going to announce him as a 2018 driver?