Tadasuke Makino won his maiden F2 race with a brilliant performance aided by a clever strategy choice by his team.
There was more bad luck awaiting Sergio Sette Camara, as the front row starter had problems with his car’s firing on: his crew were on the grid beyond the signal and he had to start from the pit lane.
That meant Albon and Markelov had one less car between them and the lead of the race: as the lights went out they fought between them while also having to pass Russell and avoid him. The Russian led into turn 1 on the outside, with Albon second, Russell third ahead of Latifi, Maini, Ghiotto and Norris. The man who sits second in the championship quickly dispatched Ghiotto and at the first corner of the second lap he overtook Maini.
On lap 3 Markelov ran deep at the second chicane and that gave Albon the chance to go side-by-side at Lesmo 1. However, the DAMS was on the outside and to avoid contact or ending up in the gravel he had to back off from his attempt. At turn 1 on lap 4 Albon took the lead of the race out-breaking his rival into the chicane. On the back straight Makino overtook Russell: while the leaders were fighting out between them, the Japanese quietly made his way up from 14th on the grid on the reverse strategy. He was twice as fast as anyone else: Markelov passed Albon with DRS one lap later and his team mate also demoted the Thai, at Lesmo 1; in the run to Ascari it was Markelov’s turn to end up behind Makino.
Makino led the race, with all drivers wo started on the options forced to wait until the end of lap 6 to change their tyres. On that lap Nissany hit Camara at the second chicane and Lorandi ran wide into the gravel at Lesmo 1, causing confusion but damaging mostly themselves: Nissany’s stop for repairs was endless. Needless to say, every team pitted their lead driver on the main strategy to put medium tyres on. The confusion helped Russell pass Albon and Maini pass Norris again.
Latifi had to continue as Albon was pitting, and he was caught and passed by the MP Motorsport pair, who were also on mediums, before he stopped on lap 7, followed by whoever still remained on the red-marked Pirelli rubber. Makino led Boschung and Boccolacci and Markelov led those who had stopped. The gap between the Russian Time team mates was an astonishing 45 seconds, with the closest rival fifteen seconds behind Makino.
On lap 9 Russell attempted to pass Markelov on the outside at the first chicane, to no avail: the same happened at the second chicane. He finally passed him at Parabolica, avoiding a surprisingly slow Markelov by a few inches. Meanwhile, Norris had passed Maini and was chasing Albon.
Russell’s lead lasted for a few metres before Markelov used DRS to take it back, and one lap later the championship leader was overtaken by Albon on the outside of turn 1. That put the title rivals one ahead of the other, with the ART driver apparently on the back foot. Norris slowly closed in and on lap 20 he passed his rival at the Variante del Rettifilo. Russell stayed closed and tried the same move one lap later, but he was too far back and ran deep, over the kerbs, losing the position. He put his head down and tried again on lap 23, this time making the move stick.
By lap 26, when Boschung pitted, his deficit to Makino had reached 20 seconds. Makino’s margin over Markelov had decreased by only five seconds, and was still enough to pit and come back out still leading. The rookie pitted on lap 27, coming out just over four seconds ahead of Markelov, which reduced the gap by two seconds in the first corner alone. Then Makino warmed his tyres and started lapping on the same pace as his team mate.
On the penultimate lap Latifi passed Norris at Ascari, but all eyes were on Makino who crossed the line ahead of Markelov and Albon to take an unexpected first career win.
|1||Tadasuke Makino||Russian Time||30 laps||25|
|2||Artem Markelov||Russian Time||+1.798||18|
|4||George Russell||ART||+6.178||12 + 4|
|7||Sergio Sette Camara||Carlin||+18.218||6 + 2|
|8||Ralph Boschung||MP Motorsport||+27.131||4|
|9||Nyck de Vries||Prema||+27.203||2|
|17||Roy Nissany||Arden||+1 lap|
|18||Jack Aitken||ART||+2 laps|
|Ret||Dorian Boccolacci||MP Motorsport||+6 laps|
|Ret||Arjun Maini||Trident||+8 laps|
*NOTE: Fuoco had finished eighth but was handed a five-second time penalty for exceeding track limits, dropping him to tenth. He was then disqualified for using a non-compliant throttle map.
|7||Sergio Sette Camara||Carlin||1:35.296||30|
Fastest lap points
|7||Sergio Sette Camara||Carlin||1:35.296||30|
|1||George Russell||United Kingdom||204|
|2||Lando Norris||United Kingdom||191|
|4||Nyck de Vries||Netherlands||155|
|6||Sergio Sette Camara||Brazil||132|
|11||Jack Aitken||United Kingdom||61|
|19||Santino Ferrucci||United States||7|
|8||MP Motorsport||United Kingdom||58|