Boschung’s rookie FIA Formula 2 Championship campaign continued at the iconic Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Italy.
With three points finishes already in his rookie season, and having shown top-six pace last weekend at Spa-Francorchamps, the 19-year-old Swiss racer arrived at the Temple of Speed optimistic of scoring again.
The Campos Racing driver focused on race set-up during free practice on Friday morning and was 12th-fastest; encouragingly little more than a tenth of a second shy of a top-eight spot.
High on confidence for qualifying, Boschung’s spirits were dented when an experimental set-up failed to pay dividends and left him 13th at the halfway point.
With his tried-and-tested settings back on the car plus fresh rubber, he was set to make significant improvements, but was dealt a cruel blow when the session was red-flagged with two minutes to go and did not resume; denying him a run on his second set of tyres.
“Unfortunately there was no chance to improve after that, so we qualified 16th,” Boschung said. “It was a real shame because I knew we could go much faster.”
The GP3 race winner made up six places at the start of Saturday’s Feature Race, but was deemed to have jumped the start and fell back to 18th after serving a drive-through penalty.
A sensational recovery included three fastest laps and the fifth quickest of the race, bringing him up to 11th by the finish. Unfortunately, he was penalised five seconds for a track-limits infringement late in the race, which dropped him to 14th in the final results.
“The race was a huge disappointment,” the Campos driver said. “I moved on the line, which the sensors picked up on, but I stopped before the lights went out, didn’t jump the start and didn’t gain an advantage, but those are the rules.
“After the drive-through, I was lapping at the same speed as the leaders and made some great progress and good overtaking moves. The additional five-second penalty for cutting the chicane at the end was a shame because I didn’t gain advantage, and without it I’d have finished ninth after all the post-race penalties were handed out.”
Another strong start gained Boschung three places, but contact on lap two dropped him back to 13th, where he finished.
“The pace wasn’t quite as good in the dry as it was in the wet, but I still think a top-10 finish was likely. I was up to 11th by the second corner, but I was hit by another car on the second lap and lost a few places while I recovered.
“It’s a shame because both here and at Spa we’ve proven we have the speed, no matter the conditions. If we have a trouble-free weekend, points are what we expect.
“As ever, I would like to extend my warmest thanks to Malbuner, the leading meat business in Switzerland, with its newest snack innovation, the Pocket Sandwich, who helped me get this fantastic opportunity, as well as the Valais-based building company CP3 and Patrick Polli, Platinum Fighter Sales, Avanthay Real Estate and B63. I am also extremely grateful to the ‘Club 50’ members for their valuable support.”
The 10th round of the 2017 F2 Championship takes place at Jerez, Spain (6-8 October).
Image copyright: FIA Formula 2 Championship