Both Campos Racing drivers added spice to FIA Formula 2’s last race at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi
Alex Palou and Lando Norris, the young pair of drivers racing under Campos Racing banner, performed extremely well during the eleventh and final round of the FIA Formula 2 season at the Yas Marina Circuit (Abu Dhabi). Despite their inexperience driving the Dallara GP2/11 cars, as Palou made his debut in the previous round and Norris’ first appearance was during this weekend, they both stood out because of race and tire wear management.
On Friday, Palou set the fastest time among the Campos Racing drivers in the free practice session with a lap of 1:50.025 with Norris posting a lap time of 1:50.025. Later in qualifying, Palou made it into the top ten by clocking a time of 1:48.127. Norris was slightly slower with his 1:48.404 and qualified 13th on the grid for Saturday’s sprint race.
Race 1 took place at late evening as usual in Abu Dhabi and both Campos Racing drivers experienced a demanding race start and lost several places. Palou dropped to 11th and Norris to 17th. Before Palou pitted for his mandatory pit stop – switching from super soft compound to soft tires- on lap 8, Norris was forced to retire two laps earlier as he had to stop due to issues with his Mecachrome engine. Palou’s chances were also ruined when he was handed a five-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane. After 31 laps, battling with Gustav Malja in the closing stages, Palou finished 14th.
Today, Palou and Norris started from the back of the field but they were very well aware of putting recovery drives. Norris and Palou were running 15th and 16th at the beginning. The duo of Campos Racing moved past Roberto Merhi on lap 8, and shortly after Palou also overtook Norris. After Sean Gelael, their next victim was Malja. As Louis Deletraz retired, Palou placed in the top ten with still a few laps to go. By then, Norris was given a five-second time penalty after gaining an advantage leaving the track. Palou struggled with his tires on the very last lap and, besides Norris – now running ninth-, two others cars passed him. Finally Palou took the checkered flag in 12th place ahead of Norris, who was demoted four places after his penalty.