Artem Markelov (Russian Time) has won the FIA Formula 2 sprint race in Bahrain, establishing himself as one of the early title contenders in the process.
At the beginning of the formation lap, Sean Gelael (Prema) and Nicholas Latifi (DAMS) stalled on the grid and were forced to start the race from the pit lane.
When the race got under way, Nyck de Vries (Prema) got the best start off the line and got past pole sitter Maximilian Günther (Arden) on the run down to Turn 1.
Behind them, both ART drivers George Russell and Jack Aitken, as well as Santino Ferrucci (Trident), stalled but all of them started from the pit lane.
Sérgio Sette Câmara (Carlin) did well to take evasive action at the start, narrowly avoiding Russell’s stationary car.
The winner of yesterday’s feature race, Lando Norris (Carlin) experienced a brief loss of power on the exit of Turn 15.
Luckily for the McLaren junior, the engine kicked just as he was about to enter the pits and only lost his fifth place to Luca Ghiotto (Campos), and reclaimed the position two laps later.
Markelov, who produced a stunning drive to finish third in the feature race, continued his impressive display and overtook Günther for second at Turn 4, having started from sixth on the grid.
Antonio Fuoco (Charouz Racing) pulled one of the stand out overtakes of the weekend, going around the outside of Nirei Fukuzumi (Arden) at Turn 11 for ninth position.
Race leader de Vries had built up a gap to Markelov, but opted to pit having struggled with tyre wear in the feature race, and re-joined in 13th.
However, it didn’t take the Dutchman long to start fighting back, passing Latifi into Turn 10 for ninth before passing Fukuzumi and Ralph Boschung (MP Motorsport) on Lap 16 to move up to sixth place.
Prema’s decision to pit de Vries was looking to be a smart one, especially after the same strategy was used last year to provide a famous victory for Charles Leclerc.
Ahead of him second and third place drivers Günther and Câmara were locking up heavily under braking, allowing fourth place Norris to close the gap.
As they squabbled over the podium spots, de Vires dispatched Ghiotto for fifth with DRS on the run up to Turn 11 and pursued after them, but ultimately had too much ground to make up.
With three laps remaining, Norris fancied getting past team-mate Câmara on the approach to Turn 4, but the Brazilian did well, forcing Norris to the outside line and him having to back out.
As the two Carlin drivers went toe to toe, Günther got his head down and made one last bid to catch up to Markelov.
However, the Russian calmly maintained the gap and claimed his first win of the season.
Ghiotto went on to finish in sixth, whilst Boschung led a train of cars as he took seventh, with Fukuzumi claiming the last championship point in eighth.
Because of the weekend’s action, Norris leads the drivers’ championship on 39 points, with Markelov second on 30 and Câmara close behind on 28.
In the Constructors’, Carlin comfortably lead the way on 67 points, with Russian Time a distant second on 30, and Prema in third on 22.
2018 FIA Formula 2 Bahrain Sprint Race Classification:
|Pos.||Car No. Driver (Nationality), Team||Time|
|1||1 Artem Markelov (RUS), RUSSIAN TIME||42:42.161|
|2||11 Maximilian Günther (DEU), BWT Arden||+2.105|
|3||18 Sérgio Sette Câmara (BRA) Carlin||+3.803|
|4||19 Lando Norris (GBR), Carlin||+5.043|
|5||3 Nyck de Vries (NED), PERTAMINA PREMA||+10.265|
|6||14 Luca Ghiotto (ITA), Campos Vexatec Racing||+15.696|
|7||10 Ralph Boschung (CHE), MP Motorsport||+23.511|
|8||12 Nirei Fukuzumi (JPN), BWT Arden||+24.582|
|9||20 Louis Delétraz (CHE), Charouz Racing System||+25.194|
|10||6 Nicholas Latifi (CDN), DAMS||+25.687|
|11||9 Roberto Merhi (ESP), MP Motorsport||+25.804|
|12||21 Antonio Fuoco (ITA), Charouz Racing System||+26.638|
|13||5 Alexander Albon (THA), DAMS||+31.759|
|14||16 Arjun Maini (IND), Trident||+36.793|
|15||15 Roy Nissany (ISR), Campos Vexatec Racing||+43.989|
|16||4 Sean Gelael (IDN), PERTAMINA PREMA||+57.845|
|17||2 Tadasuke Makino (JPN), RUSSIAN TIME||+1:03.819|
|18||7 Jack Aitken (GBR), ART Grand Prix||+1:39.757|
|19||8 George Russell (GBR), ART Grand Prix||+1 Lap|
|20||Santino Ferrucci (USA), Trident||+1 Lap|
2018 FIA Formula 2 Drivers’ Standings after Round One:
|Pos.||Car No. Driver (Nationality), Team||Points|
|1||19 Lando Norris (GBR), Carlin||39|
|2||1 Artem Markelov (RUS), RUSSIAN TIME||30|
|3||18 Sérgio Sette Câmara (BRA) Carlin||28|
|4||11 Maximilian Günther (DEU), BWT Arden||16|
|5||3 Nyck de Vries (NED), PERTAMINA PREMA||16|
|6||5 Alexander Albon (THA), DAMS||12|
|7||8 George Russell (GBR), ART Grand Prix||10|
|8||4 Sean Gelael (IDN), PERTAMINA PREMA||6|
|9||14 Luca Ghiotto (ITA), Campos Vexatec Racing||4|
|10||10 Ralph Boschung (CHE), MP Motorsport||3|
|11||7 Jack Aitken (GBR), ART Grand Prix||2|
|12||12 Nirei Fukuzumi (JPN), BWT Arden||1|