Norris dominates in Bahrain while Markelov steals the show

Lando Norris, Sakhir 2018
Norris wins his first F2 race in Bahrain

In a very turbulent first race with the Dallara F2 2018, Lando Norris shows a very mature performance to grab his maiden win.

Every team bar Trident decided to start on medium tyres when the lights went out in Bahrain. The expected chaos began even before the race officially started, not because of tyre degradation or the new car, but because of routiniers Artem Markelov and Roberto Merhi, who both stalled just before the start.

After another warm-up lap, where actually hardly anyone wanted to bring even more heat into his tyres, the race started with a magnificent start for Lando Norris, who immediately built up a huge gap to his closest rivals. However, the other rookie in the front row, George Russell, had massive wheelspin at the start, lost three places as a result, which led to a Carlin 1-2 already at turn 1 thanks to Sergio Sette Camara.

When the field crossed the start-finish line for the first time, Norris could already be found 2.4 seconds in front of his teammate, followed by Camara, Nyck de Vries and Nirei Fukuzumi. The Dutchman had a tough battle against Camara, who eventually stayed in front of the McLaren protégé.

While Roberto Merhi had to give up in the pit lane after desperate attempts to save his race, last year’s runner-up Markelov moved up to P11 in lap 4.

Alexander Albon recovered to P4 by overtaking Fukuzumi. The Japanese struggled further, lost many places during the race to finish the race in P17. In the meanwhile, Albon had a tight battle with Camara for the entire first sector in lap 8, nonetheless, the Brazilian stayed ahead as a result of great defending against the DAMS driver.

While Norris didn’t show up on the TV screens very often due to his 7.7 second lead, the battle in the midfield intensified as contact between Jack Aitken and Maximilian Günther created a battle among six drivers for P8. Eventually, Artem Markelov won this fight, already improving by 11 places in less than a third of the race.

After 10 laps, the first drivers were about to have major issues with tyre degradation; therefore, only two laps later, many of them changed their tyres, while drivers like Norris stayed out until lap 18.

Markelov’s teammate Tadasuke Makino was the first to enter the pits as he suffered a puncture after an unlucky move by Luca Ghiotto on the Japanese rookie. The Italian was handed a drive-through penalty by the stewards.

George Russell tried an undercut and successfully passed Camara and Albon, who needed several laps to reclaim their positions.

Nyck de Vries lost a couple of positions right after the pit stop and finally had to fight against his teammate Sean Gelael, who started in P19 (compared to de Vries’ P4).

Apart from the Prema battle, the two drivers couldn’t stop Markelov, who was still on fire, took Gelaels 7th place and de Vries’ 6th place a little bit later in lap 21. Due to his excellent tyre management, the Renault development driver stole P5 just one lap later, followed by P4 in lap 24.

While Gelael surprisingly passed his teammate de Vries, Albon and Russell had a tough fight for P4, which the Thai driver ultimately won as both ART’s of Russell and Aitken struggled with the softer compound.

Again, Artem Markelov had nothing to do with this intense battle, instead, he just rushed through and took P3 with a marvellous late breaking move on Albon.

In the penultimate lap, the Russian overtook Camara, but just like against other drivers, the Brazilian defended brilliantly, didn’t miss the breaking point like Markelov and secured a Carlin 1-2 on their first race after their return to this level.

Nevertheless, Lando Norris celebrated a phenomenal win in his 3rd race in F2 with a huge gap and a stellar performance. Camara finished second, Markelov fourth, Albon fifth, followed by Russel, de Vries and Gelael. Maximilian Günther will start from reverse grid pole tomorrow.

Race Results

Pos. Driver Team Gap Points
1 Lando Norris Carlin 31 laps 25 + 4 + 2
2 Sergio Sette Camara Carlin +8.321 18
3 Artem Markelov Russian Time +8.532 15
4 Alexander Albon DAMS +9.349 12
5 George Russell ART +13.947 10
6 Nyck de Vries Prema +14.661 8
7 Sean Gelael Prema +19.326 6
8 Maximilian Günther Arden +22.573 4
9 Jack Aitken ART +28.559 2
10 Ralph Boschung MP Motorsport +31.585 1
11 Nicholas Latifi DAMS +35.514
12 Luca Ghiotto Campos +44.273
13 Louis Deletraz Charouz +49.429
14 Santino Ferrucci Trident +55.424
15 Arjun Maini Trident +57.453
16 Roy Nissany Campos +1:27.436
17 Antonio Fuoco Charouz +1:47.169
18 Nirei Fukuzumi Arden +1:50.462
19 Tadasuke Makino Russian Time +1 lap
DNS Roberto Merhi MP Motorsport

Fastest lap

Pos. Driver Team Fastest lap Lap
1 Lando Norris Carlin 1:48.072 19

Fastest lap points

Pos. Driver Team Fastest lap Lap
1 Lando Norris Carlin 1:48.072 19


Drivers’ Standings

Pos. Driver Country Points
1 Lando Norris United Kingdom 31
2 Sergio Sette Camara Brazil 18
3 Artem Markelov Russia 15
4 Alexander Albon Thailand 12
5 George Russell United Kingdom 10
6 Nyck de Vries Netherlands 8
7 Sean Gelael Indonesia 6
8 Maximilian Günther Germany 4
9 Jack Aitken United Kingdom 2
10 Ralph Boschung Switzerland 1
11 Nicholas Latifi Canada 0
12 Luca Ghiotto Italy 0
13 Louis Deletraz Switzerland 0
14 Santino Ferrucci United States 0
15 Arjun Maini India 0
16 Roy Nissany Israel 0
17 Antonio Fuoco Italy 0
18 Nirei Fukuzumi Japan 0
19 Tadasuke Makino Japan 0
20 Roberto Merhi Spain 0

Teams’ Standings

Pos. Team Country Points
1 Carlin United Kingdom 49
2 Russian Time Russia 15
3 Prema Italy 14
4 DAMS France 12
5 ART France 12
6 Arden United Kingdom 4
7 MP Motorsport United Kingdom 1
8 Charouz Czech Republic 0
9 Campos Spain 0
10 Trident Italy 0

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