Ralph Boschung was robbed of a potential maiden FIA Formula 2 Championship podium after being punted out of contention in the Monaco Feature Race, before reliability troubles halted an impressive comeback in the Sprint event.
After reacclimatising himself to the streets of Monte Carlo in free practice, the MP Motorsport driver went fifth quickest in his qualifying group and would line up in ninth place for the third consecutive weekend.
A strong start in Friday’s Feature Race saw Boschung climb into the top-five in the opening stages, with the Swiss driver first of those running on the softer compound Pirelli tyres.
After an encouraging stint, Boschung pitted and emerged ahead of championship leader Lando Norris, who made contact with his rear several times throughout the lap. On the final occasion, the Brit made an optimistic move up the inside at the final corner of Antony Noghes, but was too far back and tagged Boschung’s right-rear tyre, sending him into the wall and out of the race.
“After a great start, we opted to go for the alternative strategy,” the 20-year-old explained. “We pitted early and had Sean Gelael - who went onto finish second - just ahead, with Norris behind me. He touched the back of my car a number of times and on the final occasion it put me into the wall.
“It was a shame as we had great pace and after seeing my team-mate finished third, I’m convinced we would have been on the podium and maybe even challenged for the victory.”
Starting Saturday’s Sprint Race from 16th on the grid, Boschung kept out of trouble and made quick progress to launch himself into the top-10 by lap seven.
With more than two-thirds of the race complete the 2016 GP3 race-winner was fighting for points, before an electrical issue forced him to retire.
“Starting from the back I was determined to make up some places,” Boschung added. “We had another strong start and ultimately it’s likely we would have finished in seventh or eighth. It was the same issue as in Baku and I had no other choice but to stop and retire.
“It is very disappointing, but the fact that the title contenders were unable to make up positions like I did shows that we have very good pace. Now we just need the luck, which hopefully will come when we head to Le Castellet.”
The fifth round of the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship takes place at Circuit Paul Ricard, France (22-24 June).