Podium pair discuss their race to the wire in Monaco
The battle between Anthoine Hubert and Louis Delétraz during the Monaco Sprint Race was one of the most intense moments of the Championship so far. The gap between the two was so narrow come the final few laps that the flame spat out of the back of the BWT Arden practically scathed the front of Delétraz’s helmet.
We take an in-depth look at the fight from each perspective.
Delétraz’s Point of View
“The start for me was pretty difficult, we didn't get the pace straight away,” conceded Delétraz. The Swiss driver ensured that the slow beginning wouldn’t halt his chase of the rookie and he remained around the borders of DRS range for the majority of the race, only being held back by Hubert’s excellent defensive work
Delétraz was continuingly searching for his chance, his Carlin car repeatedly weaving either side of the Frenchman in search of any form of opening, but Hubert was blocking him off at every turn. “I had really good pace to come back to Anthoine, but he was definitely holding the gap until that last lap where I thought I was close,” continued Delétraz. “When he touched the railings I could really see the sparks coming into my face, that's how close I was behind him.”
The Swiss could sense the chance escaping him as Hubert continued to be unwavering at the front and eventually he made a desperate lunge on the position as they headed towards the finishing line. It was an extraordinarily daring move that perfectly depicted how close the battle between the two of them had been. On the attempt, he recalled: “I saw the line so I knew I didn't win, but I thought 'wow, that was really close!'” Delétraz wasn’t wrong, a mere 0.059s separated the two at the chequered flag.
Hubert’s Point of View
Hubert set the precedent in the Sprint Race, roaring off the line to retain P1 ahead of Louis Delétraz. The Swiss suffered a slow start, but quickly recovered to come within 1.5s of Hubert in the opening laps.
The Frenchman would twice set the fastest lap on track in his attempts to stretch his lead, but it wouldn’t prove sufficient as Delétraz remained relentlessly close to the rear of his car. “I knew the victory was in my hands because it's really difficult to overtake here,” Hubert explained.
It was the rookie’s first ever competitive drive in the principality and merely manoeuvring what is arguably the most intense track on the F2 calendar would be difficult enough. Having the experienced Delétraz on his tail made it all the more difficult, as it meant that he always had to keep one eye behind him. “I struggled with my rear tyres in the end and he was really catching me a lot, putting me under a lot of pressure,” Hubert continued.
That pressure would eventually get to the 22-year-old and he suffered a wobble on the closing laps. He recalled: “I lost control twice in the exit of a corner and touched the rail a bit in the swimming pool. It didn't help with traction, especially in the last corner.” Hubert would show superb composure to regain control of both his car and the position, as Delétraz failed to capitalize on the momentary slip.
As already detailed, Hubert would have to survive one final scare to bring home the win, when Delétraz made that daring lunge at the chequered flag. “He nearly did it,” exclaimed the Frenchman. “My engineer was a bit angry at me for making his heart beat so hard laughs!"