Start, F2, 2018

Markelov wins as Prema strategy backfires for De Vries

Formula Two

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Artem Markelov won the Formula Two sprint race at Bahrain after Prema’s attempt to repeat their 2017 tactics backfired.

Nyck de Vries hit the front after a frantic start but handed the lead to Markelov when Prema brought him into the pits on lap 10. The team intended to repeat its successful strategy from last season, when it won the race with Charles Leclerc.

Scorching 40C track temperatures forced the front runners to nurse their tyres to the finish, lapping over 10 seconds slower than the pole position time. But despite his tyre advantage De Vries was unable to make his way through the pack quickly enough which allowed Markelov to take an untroubled win.

Max Gunther followed him in two seconds behind ahead of the Carlin pair. The trio ran nose-to-tail for second place over most of the final laps, then spread out as fourth-placed Lando Norris began to attack his team mate Sergio Sette Camara for third.

Feature race winner Norris moved up from eighth to fifth at the start but lost ground when his engine suddenly hesitated at the start of the pit straight. He managed to regain a place from Luca Ghiotto and was five seconds clear of the recovering De Vries at the line.

De Vries came in fifth ahead of Ghiotto, Ralph Buschung and Nirei Fukuzumi. The latter was one of two drivers who performed outstanding feats at the start to avoid huge crashes as both ART drivers failed to get away from the line. Fukuzuki dodged around George Russell’s stationary car while Sette Camara also reacted quickly to avoid a crash.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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8 comments on “Markelov wins as Prema strategy backfires for De Vries”

  1. Tyre degradation was very high indeed, a bit of a shame as there were not much action anymore at the end. Decent race anyways. The grandstands were absolutely empty.

  2. @keithcollantine I appreciate the extra coverage on other championships… and would enjoy it more if you can add the points standings at the bottom of each race report :)

  3. Why their race pace was slower than even GP3 on the same circuit in 2015? What’s the point of these new expensive cars, if they can as well bolt on halo on top of GP3 car and be done with it? It’s embarrassing for both Dallara and Pirelli, really.

  4. De Vries didn’t have the lead Leclerc had last year. Bad call by Prema.

    Great weekend for Carlin. Norris is great of course, but I’ve really been impressed by Camara. Guenther had a solid drive today as well.

    Fuoco’s days in the Ferrari Driver Academy are surely numbered.

    1. Agreed that Sette Camara looked very good these 2 races – great defending against Markelov.

      I don’t think it was a bad call by Prema to pit for tires. De Vries has had a lot of trouble to manage the tires, as was visible in the race yesterday, and again today after about 8 laps, when Markelov started to close in quickly.

      Instead of having him loose a load of positions (like last year), they gave him a fighting chance to get on the podium. Towards the end, again, he was slower on much fresher tires than the cars ahead.

      1. @br444m I guess you’re right. Not good news at all for the Dutchman. McLaren’s faith in him has been unwavering, but now that Norris is here, he really has to step up.

        1. @wsrgo Yes, he really has nothing to hide behind this year anymore.

          This season of F2 has all the ingredients to become a classic. I’m hooked!

  5. Early prediction – Lando Norris wins F2 then gets promoted to McLaren alongside Alonso for 2019

    Knowing Alonso’s luck, Norris challenges him just like Hamilton did in 2007, 2019 being the first time McLaren have a car to win races, and Alonso retires end of 2019 because Norris beats him?

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