Find out more about our subscriptions
You are on the classic version of Autosport. Visit to see our new site.

Baku F2: Arden's Norman Nato wins thriller ahead of Charles Leclerc

Baku F2 podium

Arden's Norman Nato won a breathless Formula 2 sprint race in Baku after on-the-road victor Charles Leclerc dropped to second with a 10-second time penalty.

Nato - who led for most of the race once a gearbox problem had eliminated early leader Oliver Rowland - took his first victory of 2017 despite being passed by championship leader Leclerc, who was given a penalty for failing to slow for yellow flags.

DAMS driver Nicholas Latifi completed the podium as he finished over 10s behind the battle for the lead.

At the start of the 21-lap race, Rowland attacked polesitter Ralph Boschung on the run to Turn 1 but the Campos Racing driver defended hard against the pitwall.

The tighter line meant Boschung went wide at the exit of the first corner, which gave Rowland the chance to dive up the inside for the left-hand Turn 2 and the Briton grabbed the lead under braking.

Rowland began to edge clear and Boschung came under attack from Nato - who lost his right front wing end plate against the rear of the Swiss driver's car as he went by on lap three.

Oliver Rowland DAMS Baku F2 2017

Nato then started to home in on Rowland while Leclerc, who started down in eighth place after winning Saturday's feature race, began to pressure a gaggle of cars including Artem Markelov, Sergey Sirotkin and Jordan King.

Rowland's race ended suddenly when he encountered gearbox issues at the start of lap eight, which allowed Nato to move into the lead.

At the same time, Leclerc finally began to make progress as he blasted past Markelov using DRS on the pit straight and defended hard when the Russian Time driver hit back.

Ferrari Formula 1 junior driver Leclerc moved up two places in a thrilling move as he and Sirotkin used their DRS advantage to sweep either side of Boschung heading into Turn 1 approaching half-distance, and Leclerc then dispatched ART Grand Prix driver Sirotkin around the outside of the left-hander.

Leclerc was 10s off the lead as he went past King with a familiar DRS blast on the main straight and he quickly closed in on Latifi, who was running second after Rapax's Nyck de Vries retired down the Turn 3 escape road.

Charles Leclerc

Prema Racing driver Leclerc eased past Latifi and then set fastest lap after fastest lap to chase down Nato for the lead.

But just as he was catching the French driver it was announced he was under investigation for failing to slow for yellow flags - the same offence that frustrated Rowland and three other drivers in the feature race.

Leclerc moved into the lead on the road with three laps to go but just a few moments later his penalty was confirmed and his chances of emulating Antonio Giovinazzi's double win in Baku for Prema in 2016 disappeared.

King finished fourth ahead of Sirotkin, Markelov, Nobuharu Matsushita, Luca Ghiotto, and Boschung.

Sergio Sette Camara rounded out the top 10 for MP Motorsport.


1Norman NatoPertamina Arden40m37.601s
2Charles LeclercPrema Racing8.717s
3Nicholas LatifiDAMS11.574s
4Sergey SirotkinART Grand Prix12.792s
5Artem MarkelovRUSSIAN TIME12.890s
6Nobuharu MatsushitaART Grand Prix14.472s
7Luca GhiottoRUSSIAN TIME16.888s
8Ralph BoschungCampos Racing21.387s
9Sergio Sette CamaraMP Motorsport27.343s
10Sean GelaelPertamina Arden27.827s
11Robert VisoiuCampos Racing31.612s
12Antonio FuocoPrema Racing32.664s
13Gustav MaljaRacing Engineering34.645s
14Johnny Cecotto Jr.Rapax35.789s
15Sergio CanamasasTrident49.243s
16Louis DeletrazRacing Engineering57.152s
17Nabil JeffriTrident1m38.931s
-Jordan KingMP MotorsportDisqualified
-Nyck de VriesRapaxRetirement
-Oliver RowlandDAMSRetirement


1Charles Leclerc122
2Oliver Rowland80
3Artem Markelov78
4Luca Ghiotto58
5Nicholas Latifi53
6Nobuharu Matsushita52
7Nyck de Vries45
8Norman Nato43
9Jordan King37
10Alexander Albon37
11Gustav Malja28
12Johnny Cecotto Jr.16
13Sergey Sirotkin9
14Ralph Boschung5
15Sergio Canamasas3
16Antonio Fuoco2
17Sergio Sette Camara0
18Sean Gelael0
19Louis Deletraz0
20Nabil Jeffri0
21Robert Visoiu0
22Roberto Merhi0
23Stefano Coletti0

  More news  
Read the AUTOSPORT Digital Edition
See highlights from 60 years of AUTOSPORT
Breaking news feed
Live commentary feed