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Ferrari junior Charles Leclerc seals Formula 2 title

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Is Ferrari losing its grip on the drivers' championship? (2:24)

After two unsuccessful races, ESPN's Jennie Gow and Kevin Eason discuss whether Ferrari has lost its chance to win the drivers' championship. (2:24)

Ferrari protégé Charles Leclerc has claimed the 2017 Formula 2 title after winning the opening race at the penultimate round of the season at Jerez.

Having built up a comfortable lead over the field after a good start from his eighth pole position of the year -- a record-breaking achievement in F2 and its predecessor GP2 -- a Safety Car period cut Leclerc's advantage, but he held off championship rival Oliver Rowland to take victory by 0.2s.

The win, Leclerc's sixth of 2017, reflected the Prema driver's dominance over his rivals as he wrapped up the title with a round to spare. It is the second consecutive championship triumph for the Monegasque, who stormed to the GP3 title last year.

Leclerc topped the opening day of the post-Hungarian Grand Prix test on his Formula One debut with Ferrari and is understood to be in the frame for a Sauber seat in 2018.

The 19-year-old impressed as he out-paced Sauber regular Pascal Wehrlein by 0.4s during a wet FP1 in Malaysia, the first of four Friday practice outings he is set to contest before the end of the season.