Start, F2, feature race, 2018

Makino grabs debut win from 14th with strategy gamble

Formula Two

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Tadasuke Makino has taken his first F2 win in the feature race in Monza after an extraordinary charge. He took advantage of alternate tyre strategy to go from 14th on the grid to first and controlled the race for twenty-five laps.

George Russell and Sergio Sette Camara had taken the front row in qualifying, however, the latter’s position was ruined with starting issues that saw him unable to join the formation lap in time and relegated to the pit lane.

This gave Alexander Albon and Artem Markelov free space to chase Russell into turn one, going three wide into the corner and letting the Russian take the lead with the pole man down to third by turn two.

Sean Gelael also made a great start, gaining six places from seventeenth to eleventh, while Lando Norris had to wait until lap two to finally move past Luca Ghiotto and up to sixth, starting well back following a disappointing qualifying.

On lap four Albon managed to hunt down Markelov and passed him with an aggressive late-braking move at the first corner. This briefly distracted from the surprising progress of his team mate Makino who almost immediately appeared in third place, having already gained 11 places.

Markelov re-took the lead on lap five, only to be immediately grabbed by his team mate. Makino, who started on the medium compound tyre, simply outbraked the super-soft-tyred drivers to a degree that almost made him look as though he was driving a different car.

With the pit window still one lap away from opening, the other drivers struggled to keep their shredded super-softs alive. Degradation was so severe on the compound that teams tried double-stacking pit stops, rather than forcing one driver to stay out for another lap, leading to particularly slow stops for Russell and Sette Camara.

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The race was then led by Makino and both MP motorsport drivers: the perpetually misfortunate Dorian Boccolacci caught a rare break having stepped into Roberto Merhi’s car; and Ralph Boschung, whose season has been incident-strewn. The trio were the only drivers to start on the harder compound. Makino’s lap times were a clear second quicker than the pair behind him, allowing him to draw out a 15-second lead by lap 11.

Markelov and Russell ended up in a fierce tussle for the functional race win, with Albon chasing behind. A bold move by Albon at Parabolica left Russell furious – and saying that Albon should be forced to give the place back for dangerous overtaking – but unable to reply on track as he fell into a duel with Norris that would see out the rest of the race.

Makino’s lead over Markelov was nearly 45 seconds by lap 19, with the Russian able to pull slightly away from Albon but struggling to take tenths off the gap to first each lap. Despite Boschung and Boccolacci’s times continuing to be slower than Makino’s, they managed to hold onto second and third place until Boccolacci pitted on lap 20.

With well over forty seconds gap banked, Makino looked safe for the win. He and Boschung stayed out until lap 25, with Markelov steadily gaining as the MP driver slid gradually backwards from Makino, more than 22 seconds separating first and second by the time Boschung pitted.

Makino finally pitted on lap 28, emerging safely in the lead for the final two laps to bring home a Russian Time one-two finish with Albon completing the podium.

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    Hazel Southwell
    Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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  • 9 comments on “Makino grabs debut win from 14th with strategy gamble”

    1. Makino just got lucky. For me Sette Camara was the driver of the day, even starting last from the pit he managed to finish just 1 position behind Norris. I hope his misfortunes ends tomorrow, I think he could have won this race. Just looking at his lost points he would be close to the championship leaders now.

      1. @miani agreed Sette Camara was robbed but Makino was certainly more than lucky – Boschung and Boccolacci’s relative lap times were way back from him to the point he had a 22 second lead on Boschung at one point.

        Norris meanwhile is having another shocker, relative to where he could be – Vandoorne sabotage rumours start now…

        1. I think you can’t compare them since MP Motorsport is very far from Russian Time level. The only reason Makino won was a good tyre strategy, a decent car and an average pace. Everything worked for him.

    2. An overall glorious race and another argument that F2 is the superior series, at least as far as competition’s concerned. The on-track battles between the three points leaders were fantastic.

      @hazelsouthwell I know you’re being facetious, but if anyone’s sabotaging Norris, it’s Norris himself. He’s got a raw talent that needs to be honed a bit. I think he’d be best served by either another season in F2 or a year in Super Formula, a la Gasly. Russell has obviously struggled a bit in the last few races, but he seems a much more complete driver than Norris at the time of this writing.

      Also, it pains me to see someone as fun as Markelov struggle to keep with the big boys. The idea of him hanging up his hat at the end of this season is quite bittersweet, frankly.

      1. @Maximilian yep – another seriously off weekend for Norris. Which of course doesn’t mean the kid’s bad at driving but it’d do him no damage whatsoever to have another year in F2 – the scrap over getting him into F1 earlier this year was ridiculously premature.

        Ahhh, Artem retiring will be a real loss for F2. Fingers crossed a gain for another series, though. (I still want him to come to Formula E!)

    3. Russell also strike me as a more complete racer. His defence when under consistent attack from Norris was good and even when he was passed, he stay on Norris and managed to retake his position within a comparatively short time (even after having to take to the escape road at the first chicane).

      Norris certainly needs to work his defence, Latifi caught him napping a couple of laps from the end, passing him just before Ascari. Norris has skills and talent, they just need to be honed and strengthened…

      1. @maddme the problem is, is there any seat for Russell if he finishes? He’s a way back down the line in terms of Mercedes juniors. Could find himself binned off somewhere silly, I suspect.

        Jack Aitken has been the real loser this year, IMO. Some initial bad luck seems to have crushed him compared to his form against Russell in GP3 – mind you, Nirei Fukuzumi has had a massively worse mechanical run.

    4. Is this guy on the Honda books? He might look good in the Toro Rosso if he can get a superlicence.

      1. @J.A. he is – he’s a Honda junior, has previous form so if he can get his head around F2 then even though Fukuzumi has more super license points currently he certainly could be in with a shout.

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