Campos Racing driver Ralph Boschung came close to scoring his first FIA Formula 2 Championship points on an impressive, yet unrewarding, Monaco debut.
The 19-year-old demonstrated his potential once again, as he battled from the back of the grid to 12th in the Feature Race, before his weekend was cut short with a repeat of the transmission failure he suffered in Bahrain on Saturday.
Entering the third round of his maiden F2 season, the Swiss was quickly on the pace of his more experienced opposition in practice. However, a lack of pace and communication issues during qualifying saw him line up in 20th for the Feature Race.
After carving his way through to 14th at the start, contact at the Lowes Hairpin forced Boschung into an early pit stop to repair his front-wing and dropped him back to 19th.
Boschung later encountered more communication problems and came in for the soft compound Pirelli tyres one lap later than planned during a safety car period. Despite this, the GP3 Series race-winner fought back to finish an encouraging 12th.
Having managed his tyres well in the first half of the Sprint Race, Boschung was preparing to improve on his 12th place, before a transmission failure lead to an early retirement.
“Racing around the streets of Monaco is incredibly intense and crazy,” said Boschung. “We go so fast and are extremely close to the walls, it’s just incredible!
“The weekend started well. I had the pace straight away, but struggled a bit for grip on the super soft tyres. This was normal though, as everyone else seemed to have similar difficulties.
“Qualifying did not go to plan however. I struggled to get the right rhythm and communication problems did not help. Additionally, I had to slow down on my fourth lap when someone hit the wall!
“In race one, I felt that 10th was definitely possible. However, there was another communication error and I pitted too late under the safety car. This, combined with the early contact, really hindered my race, but to finish 12th despite all of these issues is quite positive.
“It proved very difficult to overtake in the Sprint Race, but I was quite comfortable in 12th. After some early tyre management, I started to prepare an attack on the car ahead, but then the transmission broke on the straight. It was the exact same failure as we had in Bahrain, which is very frustrating.
“I really hope we are able to fix this problem. Campos Racing is a great team and our objective is to finally score points. Baku will be another new circuit for me to learn and I’m looking forward to it!
“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 fourth round of the championship takes place at the Baku City Circuit, Azerbaijan (23-25 June).
Image copyright: FIA Formula 2 Championship