Rowland looked in a great position in the fight to gain pole, but a mistake at the final Turn 15 hairpin would prove extremely costly, meaning the Briton ended up 0.634s behind the Ferrari F1 junior driver in 4th with a time of 1m25.316s.
In the feature race Leclerc was finally crowned 2017 Formula 2 champion after being victorious ahead of Oliver Rowland in a duel that caused plenty of drama.
Rowland, starting from fourth, soared up to third place on the opening lap after Leclerc made an impressive start from the front.
DAMS driver Rowland then tried to grasp his opportunity on lap 11, as Leclerc had improved to a 11.7s lead over the Brit when pitting despite Rowland putting in a series of fast times.
After the safety car was employed causing a three-lap interruption, Leclerc managed to maintain his lead at the restart - with Rowland having to pass the already lapped Arden driver Sean Gelael.
It wasn’t until lap 21 that Leclerc managed to recapture the lead and grab a foothold on the race.
Rowland was in pursuit, impressively powering his way to third place. Then, two laps later, up into second narrowing the gap between himself and Leclerc to just over six seconds, but it was all in vein as the Spaniard looked easily on course to secure his sixth victory of the season, in spite of Rowland’s efforts.
Despite some late drama, Leclerc held on to the lead with Rowland just 0.230 seconds behind him to be crowned the 2017 Formula 2 Championship winner.
“I didn’t really expect to catch Charles at all, he was a long way in front and I couldn’t even see him, and then all of a sudden I started to see him at the last corner: as he said I was a bit quicker, and I wanted to put the pressure on to him. I pushed pretty hard, because I wanted him to push too to see who could last the longest on the tyres, and I settled into a rhythm. It was a race full of action, I pushed and I did my best, but well done to Charles on the championship: he’s done a fantastic job.”
Artem Markelov produced a fine performance to win the sprint race at Jerez with Oliver Rowland capturing third behind DAMS teammate Nicholas Latifi.
Markelov was in top form as he powered to his fourth win of 2017, securing a comfortable win.
The Russian preserved his tyres as the majority of drivers were losing theirs and made a race-winning move on lap 22 and never looked back.
Markelov stormed past Latifi at turn 1, then bombed on eventually finding himself way out in front comfortably leading the race.
Both Latifi and Rowland tried hunting Markelov down, but were unable to do anything about the pace the Russian Time driver was setting as he pulled away to grab the win by almost 12s from Latifi, who was just ahead of Rowland in third.
“I have to be reasonably happy: 2 podiums in one weekend is a pretty good weekend. From my side the race was pretty good, and overall I’m pleased, for me and the team, and we’ve done a great job and had a strong weekend, so a big thanks to DAMS and hopefully we have the Teams’ championship to think about as well.”