Only a mistake would have cost ART Grand Prix’s George Russell from victory in the feature race of the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship at Silverstone and it was in the pits which handed the lead and a win to DAMS’ Alexander Albon.
Russell started off well from Albon as Charouz Racing System’s Antonio Fuoco came under a lot of pressure from teammate Loius Deletraz. Further back, Trident’s Arjun Maini lost a place to Russian Time’s Artem Markelov on the opening lap itself.
While Russell headed at the front, Fuoco managed to keep Deletraz behind but Maini fought back at Markelov to go around the outside and take back seventh in a fine move. The Indian then chased Carlin’s Lando Norris for sixth.
And immediately a lap later, Norris’ mistake at Turn 2 helped Maini to pounce on and take sixth with the front-runners then deciding to pit for the hard tyres from the soft compound. Deletraz led Maini and Norris for a lap when they also chose to pit.
The lead changed in the pits when Russell had a slow stop due to a wheelgun issue. A further dent to his chances was a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pitlane, the same was received by teammate Jack Aitken.
The lead of the race went to Russian Time’s Tadasuke Makino and MP Motorsport’s Ralph Boschung but they were on the opposite strategy and had to give away with Albon taking over from Russell and Fuoco.
The Italian had Deletraz again behind him but the Swiss driver fell off and was battling with Campos’ Luca Ghiotto and Markelov. For Albon, it was a straight win as the DAMS’ driver took his second of the season.
Despite the penalty, Russell kept second with Fuoco completing the podium. Having passed Deletraz early on when Carlin’s Sergio Sette Camara stopped due to an engine failure, Ghiotto lost fourth right on the final lap with Deletraz managing to retake the place.
The Italian held fifth with Markelov only just behind him in sixth. Prema’s Nyck de Vries was also close behind in seventh as Aitkin took eighth. However, the Renault junior had two five seconds penalty – the second one for infringement under the VSC.
This meant, he dropped out of the points at the end of the race, promoting Arden’s Maximilian Gunther to eighth and hand him the reverse-grid pole. After few terrible outings, Boschung was ninth with Norris salving 10th in the end.
The British driver stalled in the pits and dropped to the back of the grid as a result. He steadied on from then to keep himself in the play and with multiple drivers dropping out due to penalties and mistake, he took home the solitary point.
Apart from Aitken and Russell, Makino also had the five seconds penalty due to his VSC infringement while Trident’s Santino Ferrucci got the same penalty for throwing off teammate Maini when the Indian tried to go around the outside at Brooklands.
Meanwhile, Norris was also under investigation for his tangle with Prema’s Sean Gelael when the British driver was trying to get back places. The move resulted in Gelael spinning off to retire, but the stewards deemed it as a racing incident.
Positions 11-17: Roberto Merhi, Makino, Aitken, Maini, Roy Nissany, Ferrucci and Nicholas Latifi. DNF: Camara, Gelael and Nirei Fukuzumi.