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F2 2018


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#1 Rad-oh-yeah?

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 12:43

U Bahreinu startuje i F2 sampionat, a Dzo Savard nam daje pregled mladih nada:
 

The Bahrain Grand Prix will also see the start of the Formula 2 Championship, where there is plenty of interest this year, particularly for British fans. Lewis Hamilton is now the only British F1 driver and he's getting older and so British F1 fans are looking for the next generation. The good news is that it seems to be pretty strong.

ART Grand Prix is running two up-and-coming British stars in Mercedes test driver George Russell and his Renault F1 counterpart Jack Aitken. There is also Lando Norris, the McLaren reserve driver, who will be racing for Carlin, and we should not forget also Alexander Albon, who is expected to race for DAMS, although his seat is yet to be confirmed, a rather odd situation going into the first race weekend. Albon will be in his second year of the series, while Russell, Aitken and Norris are all, effectively, rookies. It will be interesting to see who comes out ahead as the opposition is pretty strong with Russia's Artem Markelov needing to win the title this year with Russian Time. This will be his fifth season at this level and he was runner-up last year so nothing short of winning the title will be good enough. He is joined in the team this year by Honda protege Tadasuke Makino, a graduate of the European Formula 3 Championship, where he finished 15th last year.

A man who will be worth watching is Holland's Nyck de Vries, who is racing this year for the championship-winning Prema Team. This year the series has a brand-new chassis and engine with the introduction of the Dallara F2 2018, powered by a turbocharged 3.4-litre Mecachrome engine. Such a change may shuffle the F2 pack, but Prema ought to still be strong. De Vries will be partnered by Indonesia's Sean Gelael, who still has a lot to prove, going into his fourth season in the series and having finished 15th in the last two years. Also worth watching will be Luca Ghiotto, who has washed up at Campos Vexatec Racing this year. He was fourth in last year's championship and is going into his third season in the championship.

American fans will have Haas reserve driver Santino Ferrucci to cheer for, the Connecticut driver going into his first full season in the formula. He has jumped around rather too much in recent years and now needs to build some solid results to be taken seriously by the F1 crowd. His team-mate at Trident will be India's Arjun Maini, who also has an association with the Haas F1 team. Brazil will also have a new hero as Sérgio Sette Câmara lines -up alongside Norris at Carlin. The BWT Arden team may also feature well with Germany's Maximilian Günther and Honda protege Nirei Fukuzumi, while the Charouz team will appear with Ferrari funding for the eraltively wild duo of Louis Delétraz and Antonio Fuoco. MP Motorsport has yet to confirm its second driver alongside Switzerland's Ralph Boschung, while DAMS will likely announce Albon and Canadian Nicholas Latifi, both of whom should do well.

 

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#2 Rad-oh-yeah?

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 19:51

Norris breezes to Bahrain F2 feature race win
Saturday, 07 April 2018
F2 / Image by Mauger/LAT

1015095835-LAT-20180407-_56I67024.jpg

 
Lando Norris secured his first FIA Formula 2 Championship victory in the Feature Race at Sakhir, Bahrain, mastering the hot and windy conditions to win with an 8.3s advantage over Carlin teammate Sergio Sette Camara, who held onto second place after a thrilling battle in the final stages of the race with Russian Time's Artem Markelov, the latter producing a spectacular recovery drive to secure the final podium position.

With the majority of the field, save from the Trident team, opting to start on the medium-compound tires, degradation was a hotly anticipated factor in the race. An aborted start was called at the beginning, as Markelov and MP Motorsport's Roberto Merhi stalled on the grid and prompted a second formation lap; the Russian then took to the pits to restart from the back of the field while the Spanish driver retired from mechanical failure.

At the second time of asking, Norris made a fantastic start to streak clear of the rest of the field, while Sette Camara took advantage of a slow start from George Russell to catapult himself into second. Russell, starting from the front row, also lost ground to a fast-starting Nyck de Vries and Nirei Fukuzumi, resulting in a scintillating scrap among them in the early stages of the race.

De Vries soon put a move on Sette Camara to grab second, allowing Norris to scamper off into the distance at the rate of a second per lap. Further behind, Alexander Albon surged past Russell and subsequently did battle with De Vries and Sette Camara, the latter of whom ultimately won out for second as the Dutchman began to drop back.

Seemingly unflappable in the lead, Norris had the luxury of not needing to react to the others once they'd begun to make their stops. Louis Deletraz opened proceedings among the top ten on lap 14, with Russell blinking a lap later – staying ahead of the Swiss driver. Sette Camara and Albon came in together later on and dropped behind Russell as they rejoined the track.

Meanwhile, Markelov was charging forward, having dispatched the majority of the field with a flurry of well-timed passes into Turn 1, and continued to carve through the pack after his own stop on lap 16. Norris switched to the soft compound two laps later, continuing with the lead on his return to the track as the pair of Sette Camara and Albon returned to second and third after clearing Russell.

Markelov also passed the British driver, with third-placed Albon next on his radar. Once more, the Russian used his DRS to blitz past at the first corner and, although the Thai driver fought back across the next few corners, the Renault development driver held firm to secure third.

In the final five laps, Norris started to lose fractions of his 10 second lead to his teammate, who was simultaneously under attack from Markelov. The Brazilian was inch-perfect in his defence of second when Markelov approached, orchestrating an excellent switchback maneuver at the start of the final lap to hold second.

Norris took the checkered flag after an untouchable performance, walking away with an impressive 31 points with pole, win and fastest lap. Sette Camara and Markelov's battle for second delighted the crowd up to the line ahead of Albon.

Russell kept fifth having lost ground to the front four, as Nyck De Vries completed the top six having fallen out of contention in the midway stages. Sean Gelael converted an early pit stop into seventh place from P19 on the grid, as Maximilian Gunther, Jack Aitken and Ralph Boschung all battled hard to end the race in the top 10.

Gunther begins tomorrow's Sprint Race from reverse-grid pole, and will start alongside Gelael as Norris will seek to win the second race of the weekend from eighth.


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#3 Rad-oh-yeah?

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Posted 09 April 2018 - 03:33

Markelov wins F2 sprint race
Sunday, 08 April 2018
F2 / Image by Mauger/LAT

1015100224-LAT-20180408-_54I68036.jpg


Artem Markelov produced a measured drive to grab victory in the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship Sprint Race at Sakhir, Bahrain, the Russian Time driver managing his tires effectively to stand aloft on the winner's step of the podium ahead of BWT Arden's Maximilian Gunther and Sergio Sette Camara of Carlin.

In sweltering conditions, the majority of the teams gravitated toward once again opening with the medium compound tires, although Roberto Merhi bucked the trend with a set of softs. Starting alongside Gunther on the front row, Sean Gelael stalled on the formation lap, leaving an open portion of track for the cars behind to take advantage of. Once the race got underway, Santino Ferrucci and both ART Grand Prix drivers Jack Aitken and George Russell also stalled, giving Nyck de Vries the opportunity to jump Gunther into the first corner and into the lead.

Markelov made a good start to avoid the stationary car of Russell, leaping up into third from sixth on the grid, opening the race ahead as the Carlin pair of Sette Camara and Lando Norris completed the early top five. Prema's De Vries set the early pace, building a break over Gunther and looking to atone for a difficult feature race. Markelov then cleared the German rookie, eclipsing him at Turn 4 on the fourth lap to attempt a charge on De Vries.

The Prema driver seemed to have the advantage, opening the gap over Markelov to almost four seconds, but by lap 10 De Vries was struggling on his tires and was called in to pit for a set of soft tires. This thrust Markelov into the lead, as De Vries rejoined the pack in 13th place with plenty of ground to make up.

Managing his tires, Markelov held Gunther at arm's length, leaving the latter driver to voice his concerns about his own rubber. His subsequent series of lock-ups let both Carlins into the hunt for second, Norris having recovered from a brief mechanical hiccup to slot back in behind Sette Camara, allowing Markelov to extend his advantage as the trio behind battled it out. Sette Camara was seeking to take advantage, especially as De Vries' recovery through the field had brought him into fifth place – just down the road from the leading pack.

Markelov was continuing to manage the pace, losing a bit of time to the triumvirate of chasing cars in the closing stages of the race. Gunther, having come under fire from the advances of Sette Camara, had dropped the Carlin pair, but was running out of time to catch the leader. Having produced an immaculate recovery drive in the first race, Markelov took the chequered flag to secure his first victory of the year and ignite his championship aspirations.

Gunther was a further 2.1s behind to claim his first podium position of the year, while Sette Camara stood his ground to absorb a late challenge from Norris for third, holding station as the British driver attempted to round his teammate around the outside of Turn 4. De Vries was unable to get any closer, his pace stagnating on reaching fifth place, as Luca Ghiotto claimed sixth following an excellent start from 12th on the grid, grabbing his first points of the year. Ralph Boschung and Nirei Fukuzumi completed the top eight.

Norris leads the standings after the first round, taking 39 points over the weekend to head Markelov with 30. Sette Camara is third, a further two points behind, as Gunther's podium put him into the top four. The field will regroup for the second round at Baku, Azerbaijan, which takes place on April 27-29.


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