It was a lights-to-flag victory for Russian Time’s Artem Markelov in the sprint race of the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship at Red Bull Ring which saw ART Grand Prix’s George Russell take the points lead from Carlin’s Lando Norris.
After his brilliant last-lap three-car overtake move in the feature race, Markelov had a steady race on Sunday without much challenge to win his third race of the 2018 season with a comfortable margin of 5.6s over Russell.
The Russian started off well in the rolling start procedure and held his position all-through to take the victory at ease. But most of the action was provided by the Mercedes junior Russell who made his way up to second from eighth on the grid.
He was handed a position at the start with MP Motorsport’s Roberto Merhi starting from the pitlane. But he then overtook Norris, Charouz Racing’s Antonio Fuoco, DAMS’ Alexander Albon, Carlin’s Sergio Sette Camara and Russian Time’s Tadasuke Makino to second.
However, with the gap built by Markelov, it was too much for Russell as he settled for second but importantly taking the points lead from Norris by 10 points. Makino, meanwhile, ran third for most part but came under tremendous pressure from Camara.
The Japanese eventually had to yield the position at Turn 1 on Lap 19 as the Brazilian completed the podium with the Russian Time driver continuing to lose positions as Fuoco followed by alogn with Albon to drop him to sixth.
Fuoco finished fourth with Albon in fifth after the Thai driver won a back and forth battle with Norris midway. Norris though continued to tumble down with Arden’s Nirei Fukuzumi, Trident’s Santino Ferrucci, DAMS’ Nicholas Latifi and Trident’s Arjun Maini passing through.
Ferrucci passed Fukuzumi as well to take seventh with Latifi managing to get through the Japanese driver as well to claim the final point as Fukuzumi finished ninth from Maini and Norris, who just held off from Arden’s Maximilian Gunther to keep 11th.
Positions 11-18: Gunther, Luca Ghiotto, Nyck de Vries, Ralph Boschung, Merhi, Roy Nissany and Jack Aitken. DNF: Louis Deletraz and Sean Gelael.
UPDATE: Following the contact between Gelael and Deletraz which ended both their races, the stewards have adjudged that Gelael was the guilty party. He has two penalty points on his license and a three-place grid penalty for next weekend’s Silverstone’s feature race.