Leeds leads record F4 field battle at Albert Park

Sunday 17 March, 2019
Luis Leeds has taken out the first round of the CAMS PAYCE Australian F4 Championship.

AGI Sport has dominated Sunday, and the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix weekend with 2018 Champion Jayden Ojeda winning the third and final race, and Luis Leeds the overall round.

Ojeda stretched a lead of more than three seconds in the eight-lap race, though a damaged wheel nearly put an end to his farewell race in the championship. The AGI Sport car survived to win by just 0.8 seconds over teammate Leeds.

With the winner’s trophy presented by FIA President Jean Todt, Leeds was proud to come away with the weekend honours after a summer break spent not knowing of his racing future.

“It’s been a lot on the line in regards to my racing career, and I’m ecstatic to pull through with my first ever round win in Australian F4,” Leeds said.

“When I think about it, this has been my first race in F4 for nearly two years. I couldn’t quite get to grips with it – literally – on the first few laps. Once we got going and got some heat into the tyres, we made a gap and pulled away.

Though it’s Leeds’ first Australian Formula 4 win, it’s not his first at a Grand Prix having won the Mexican Grand Prix Formula 4 event in 2015.

“That’s my second time on the top step at a Grand Prix,” Leeds added.

“Hopefully someone picks me up and pays attention to the fact that I’m working hard and trying to get to Formula 1.”

A third-place finish on Sunday was enough for Team BRM’s Ryan Suhle to secure second for the round, after being tied on points with Lochie Hughes.

“It was a really exciting weekend. We came into it with high hopes, but I don’t think I maximised the practice that we did get to find my way around the track,” Suhle said.

“Eight full racing laps was pretty cool. It was an exciting round, lots of cars, lots of action, awesome track, best podium ever. I think all the drivers are pretty happy.”

It was the narrowest of margins that could have changed the outright podium results, with Hughes only 0.2 seconds away from Suhle in the Sunday finale.

“It’s amazing, though it’s a shame not to come away with the win,” Hughes said.

“We had more pace than where we finished. We couldn’t do anything with it because it was quite hard to pass with aerowash in the fast corners. I’m happy though, and I can’t wait for round two.

“Third is a good way to start the year. There’s a long way still to go. We’ve banked the points to stay in the fight.”

Team BRM and circuit racing debutant Emerson Harvey had a weekend to remember. In what was his first weekend out of karts, Harvey enjoyed an appearance on the Grand Prix podium as the Burson Auto Parts Rookie of the Round.

“I’ve had a lot of fun over the weekend. It’s been such an eye-opening weekend,” Harvey said.

“I’m loving this car, it’s amazing. Compared from where we started on Thursday practice, I think I was ten seconds off but I think now I’m only three seconds off. That’s the development this team has brought to me. I’m feeling really comfortable in the car now moving forward.”

Race winner Ojeda was fourth for the round, while Saturday’s race winner Antonio Astuti was disappointed to have a lap one altercation that saw his round victory hopes whittle away.

Taylor Cockerton won the intra-team MTEC Motorsport battle to be sixth, ahead of Ryan Yardley for their respective Australian Formula 4 debuts.

Jackson Burton also impressed on his Formula 4 debut with AGI Sport to be placed eighth outright, ahead of Tommy Smith, Jackson Walls, Josh Smith and Dylan Thomas all collecting points from the weekend.

Round Two of the CAMS PAYCE Australian Formula 4 Championship will next take place at Sydney Motorsport Park, with a marathon four-races on the weekend of 17–19 May.

Race Three Results

1. Jayden Ojeda
2. Luis Leeds +0.8182
3. Ryan Suhle +2.0088
4. Lochie Hughes +2.2195
5. Taylor Cockerton +8.6927
6. Ryan Yardley +10.8991
7. Jackson Burton +15.0500
8. Tommy Smith +16.2116
9. Josh Smith +21.3805
10. Jackson Walls +26.0574
11. Dylan Thomas +31.7799
12. Matt Holmes +33.2479
13. Heath Collinson +35.2132
14. Emerson Harvey +35.6252
15. Antonio Astuti +45.0103
16. Christian Lester +55.4322
17. Brenton Griguol +1:02.9549
18. Aaron Zerefos +1:36.7042

 

Championship Points

1. Luis Leeds: 45
2. Ryan Suhle: 37
3. Lochie Hughes: 37
4. Jayden Ojeda: 35
5. Antonio Astuti: 33
6. Taylor Cockerton: 31
7. Ryan Yardley: 27
8. Jackson Burton: 19
9. Tommy Smith: 18
10. Jackson Walls: 9
11. Josh Smith: 6
12. Dylan Thomas: 6

 

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