|2018 Bahrain Feature Race|
The unchanged Bahrain International Circuit.
|Date||7 April 2018|
|Event||2018 Bahrain Grand Prix|
|Location||Bahrain International Circuit Sakhir, Bahrain|
|Lap length||5.406km (3.359mi)|
|Distance||31 laps / 167.586km (104.133mi)|
|Pole Sitter||Lando Norris|
|Time||1:48.072 on lap 19|
|Lando Norris||Sérgio Sette Câmara||Artem Markelov|
|Yas Marina Sprint||Bahrain Sprint|
Indeed, the young F2 rookie would start the weekend well, claiming pole position in qualifying ahead of fellow F2 virgin George Russell. Alexander Albon was third for DAMS ahead of Nyck de Vries, with the entire field qualifying on "soft" Pirelli tyres.
However, before Norris could go on the dominate the race, he first had to avoid the pitfalls of starting the new Dallara F2 2018. Indeed, the new car was proving so tricky to start that F2 veteran Artem Markelov, and experienced Spaniard Roberto Merhi both stalled, causing the first start to be abandoned.
After a second formation lap the race did finally start, with Norris sprinting clear as Russell dropped down. Indeed, the Brit would be swallowed up by the pack into turn one, with Sérgio Sette Câmara, Nyck de Vries and Nirei Fukuzumi all getting past. In the pits, meanwhile, Markelov would have to wait until the rest of the field had negotiated turn one before joining in the fray.
Norris would pull away at a rapid rate during the early stages, leaving teammate Câmara in a scrap with de Vries and Alexander Albon. That fight would last until the stops, with the majority of the field switching from "mediums" to "softs" before lap 20.
Into the closing stages and Markelov, from the pitlane, was on the warpath, and closing in on a podium spot. Indeed, with five laps to go had rounded Albon to claim third, and would hound Câmara for the rest of the race.
Out front, meanwhile, Norris cruised home to claim his first F2 victory, seven seconds clear of teammate Câmara whom ensured it was a Carlin one-two. Markelov ultimately had to settle for third ahead of Albon, while Russell was a distant fifth ahead of de Vries.
The full entry list for the 2018 Bahrain Feature Race is displayed below:
Qualifying for the opening round of the 2018 Formula Two Season would get underway in cooler conditions than practice, with darkness having descended in Sakhir. Indeed, with temperate conditions and a fair amount of practice, there was a real chance of a fight for pole, with times close throughout the field. On the topic of a target time, the field would hope to get within sight of the F2 Circuit record in Sakhir, a 1:38.907 held by Charles Leclerc in the 2017-spec Dallara GP2/11.
Most of the field would queue up in the pits for the start of the 20 minute session, with Santino Ferrucci the first in the line. The American youngster's Trident would duly set the opening time of the session, taking just over two minutes, before Maximilian Günther broke through that barrier. That was the real start of the session, with times tumbling for the following minutes.
After a handful of laps, Sérgio Sette Câmara would dip into the 1:42.000s for the first time, an effort soon matched, and then beaten, by debutante George Russell. Indeed, the ART Grand Prix pilot would end the first half of the session fastest, with the entire field peeling in to bolt on another set of "soft" Pirellis. Indeed, the only man on track for a brief while would be Artem Markelov, with the Russian abandoning his gamble of trying to qualify with a set of "mediums".
Indeed, the field returned to complete the final runs at the death of the session, with Arjun Maini the first to threaten the earlier times. However, a small mistake into the down-hill turn ten ultimately saw his attempt fall shy of its early promise. That opened the door for Russell, few cars further down the line, to take half a second off of his earlier effort, to record a 1:41.823.
Russell would get another chance to improve just before the chequered flag came out, with Alexander Albon going close to the Brit's time with a 1:41.850. Next came Lando Norris who, in-spite of running wide out of the final corner, went charging across the line to record a 1:41.761. Russell came next but was unable to find the tenth or so he needed to re-claim pole, while Nyck de Vries posted the final time of the session with a 1:41.880 to go fourth.
The final qualifying result for the 2018 Bahrain Feature Race are outlined below:
|2018 Bahrain Feature Race Qualifying Result|
|2nd||8||George Russell||ART Grand Prix||1:41.823||+0.062s||2|
|4th||4||Nyck de Vries||Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||1:41.880||+0.119s||4|
|5th||20||Louis Delétraz||Charouz Racing System||1:42.174||+0.413s||5|
|6th||18||Sérgio Sette Câmara||Carlin||1:42.221||+0.460s||6|
|7th||12||Nirei Fukuzumi||BWT Arden||1:42.246||+0.485s||7|
|8th||2||Tadasuke Makino||Russian Time||1:42.264||+0.503s||8|
|9th||7||Jack Aitken||ART Grand Prix||1:42.282||+0.521s||9|
|10th||11||Maximilian Günther||BWT Arden||1:42.336||+0.575s||10|
|11th||21||Antonio Fuoco||Charouz Racing System||1:42.342||+0.581s||11|
|12th||14||Luca Ghiotto||Campos Vexatec Racing||1:42.414||+0.653s||12|
|13th*||9||Roberto Merhi||MP Motorsport||1:42.423||+0.662s||PL|
|16th||10||Ralph Boschung||MP Motorsport||1:42.460||+0.699s||16|
|17th†||1||Artem Markelov||Russian Time||1:42.816||+1.055s||PL|
|19th||3||Sean Gelael||Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||1:43.016||+1.255s||19|
|20th||15||Roy Nissany||Campos Vexatec Racing||1:43.350||+1.589s||20|
- * Merhi was unable to start the race after a clutch failure on the grid.
- † Markelov would start from the pitlane after stalling on the grid.
|______________||Nyck de Vries|
|______________||Sérgio Sette Câmara|
- * Merhi was unable to start the race after a clutch failure on the grid.
- † Markelov would start from the pitlane after stalling on the grid.
The opening round of the 2018 Formula Two Season would be staged in the heat of the Bahrain sun, being staged in between FP3 and qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix. However, there would be an issue as the field attempted to start the opening round, as Roberto Merhi and Artem Markelov both stalled. As such, the start was abandoned and the field told to complete another warm-up lap, while Merhi and Markelov were pushed into the pits.
After the false start the race finally got underway, with Lando Norris immediately sprinting clear at the front of the field. That left fellow front row starter George Russell to tumble down the field, with Brit joining the list of drivers struggling with the new Dallara F2 2018's clutch. The ART Grand Prix racer would duly drop behind Sérgio Sette Câmara, Nyck de Vries and Nirei Fukuzumi as the field crowded into turn one.
However, only seventeen drivers would pile into the first corner, with Antonio Fuoco stalling towards the back of the field. He rejoined after the field had disappeared, with Markelov in between him and Roy Nissany at the back of the pack. The third absentee from the pack would be Merhi's MP Motorsport run car, with the Spaniard out of the race after his clutch failed during the original start.
Otherwise the opening tour was largely undramatic, although Luca Ghiotto did manage to climb into the top ten with a lunge into turn one, and then duly slipped back. Out front, meanwhile, Norris would complete an excellent opening tour to lead the field by over two seconds, while teammate Câmara fended off de Vries. Next up was Fukuzumi in his BWT Arden, while, at the back of the field, Markelov had already picked off a couple of the back markers.
de Vries would go charging past Câmara on the second lap, an excellent lunge into turn one doing the job, before trying in vain to catch Norris in the early stages. However, the young rookie would put on a dominant display during the early stages, pulling out over a second a lap out of the field. Câmara, meanwhile, would find some pace and re-catch de Vries, while Alexander Albon recovered from his poor start by surging past Russel and Fukuzumi on successive laps to catch the back of the third placed Brazilian.
In the middle of the pack, meanwhile, Markelov was pulling off overtake after overtake, with dives into almost every corner coming off. Indeed, one his best moves came against F2 veteran Ghiotto, who tried to elbow the Russian racer off the circuit down the back-straight, only for Markelov to charge right around the outside of his Campos. That move, completed on lap four, left Markelov on the edge of the top ten, with less spectacular moves carrying him past Tadasuke Makino, Ralph Boschung and Maximilian Günther in short order.
Indeed, the only thing to halt Markelov's charge came on lap seven, when an ambitious move around the outside of Jack Aitken into turn ten was met with stubborn resistance. The Renault backed rookie refused to allow the Russian to come right around his outside, with Markelov ultimately locking his brakes on the wrong line to take the tightening apex. Both himself and Aitken, who was busy watching his mirrors, ran wide on the exit of the corner, allowing Günther to surge past the pair of them.
The rest of Markelov's opening stint would be spent fighting with Günther and Aitken, with the trio going three abreast into turn three, only for Günther to hold on to eighth. Elsewhere, Louis Delétraz decided to bring his Charouz in for a fresh set of "soft" Pirelli tyres on lap fourteen, opening the pitwindow. The rest of the field, led by Russell, would trickle in over the following laps, with Norris, all on his own, making his stop under no pressure at the end of lap eighteen.
After the stops the order was Norris holding a ten second lead from Câmara and Albon, while de Vries led Russell and Markelov. Indeed, the Dutchman's pace had faded badly during the final laps of the first stint, and he had been powerless to prevent Câmara and Albon from passing before the stops. A poor stop then put him in the sights of Russell and Markelov, with the Russian duly blasting past the pair of them on lap twenty.
It was all about Markelov as the race entered its final five laps, for the Russian went lunging past Albon into turn one on lap 26, claiming third. His pace had prompted Câmara to push on, meaning he had begun to catch teammate Norris, although with five laps to go the Brit's lead was still close to ten seconds. Both Câmara and Markelov would pull clear of Albon over the following laps, before the Russian launched his assault on the Brazilian.
For two laps Markelov would weave his Russian Time in the mirrors of Câmara, only for the Brazilian to swat away any lunge that came his way. Then, at the start of the final lap, Markelov got a perfect run on the Brazilian using DRS, and duly charged past as the headed into the braking zone for turn one. Yet, as he moved to take the racing line, on the outside of the tarmac, Câmara threw his Carlin back up inside the Russian, and duly snatched back second place.
With that the race was run, with Norris cruising home still eight seconds clear of the fight for second, claiming a dominant maiden victory. Câmara, meanwhile, did just enough on the final lap to deny Markelov a real chance at passing, with the pair flashing across the line just a couple of tenths apart. Albon had caught back up to them but ran out of time to make a move, while Russell made a late move on de Vries to secure fifth. The rest of the points went to Sean Gelael, Günther, Aitken and Boshung.
The final classification of the 2018 Bahrain Feature Race is displayed below:
|2018 Bahrain Feature Race Race Result|
|Pos.||No.||Name||Team||Laps*||Race Time||Fastest lap||Pts.|
|2nd||18||Sérgio Sette Câmara||Carlin||31||+8.321s||1:49.128||18|
|3rd||1||Artem Markelov||Russian Time||31||+8.532s||1:48.177||15|
|5th||8||George Russell||ART Grand Prix||31||+13.947s||1:49.538||10|
|6th||4||Nyck de Vries||Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||31||+14.661s||1:48.573||8|
|7th||3||Sean Gelael||Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||31||+19.326s||1:48.646||6|
|8th||11||Maximilian Günther||BWT Arden||31||+22.573s||1:49.062||4|
|9th||7||Jack Aitken||ART Grand Prix||31||+28.559s||1:49.743||2|
|10th||10||Ralph Boschung||MP Motorsport||31||+31.585s||1:49.413||1|
|12th||14||Luca Ghiotto||Campos Vexatec Racing||31||+44.273s||1:48.627|
|13th||20||Louis Delétraz||Charouz Racing System||31||+49.429s||1:50.215|
|16th||15||Roy Nissany||Campos Vexatec Racing||31||+1:27.436||1:49.338|
|17th||21||Antonio Fuoco||Charouz Racing System||31||+1:47.169||1:49.499|
|18th||12||Nirei Fukuzumi||BWT Arden||31||+1:50.462||1:50.124|
|19th||2||Tadasuke Makino||Russian Time||30||+1 Lap||1:50.137|
|DNS||9||Roberto Merhi||MP Motorsport||0||Clutch||—|
- Bold indicates a driver started from pole.
- Italics indicate that a driver set fastest lap.
- * The race was originally scheduled to last 32 laps but was reduced after the first abanoned start.
- Debut race for Tadasuke Makino, George Russell, Jack Aitken, Maximilian Günther, Nirei Fukuzumi, Roy Nissany and Arjun Maini.
- Carlin Motorsport and Charouz Racing System made their FIA Formula Two debuts as entrants.
- First race for the new Dallara F2 2018.
- Maiden pole position for Lando Norris.
- First victory for Norris.
- It was also the first race in which he had set fastest lap.
- Also the Brit's first points finish.
- Carlin claimed their first victory as an entrant.
- It was also their first one-two courtesy of Camara finishing second.
- First points finish for Russell, Günther and Aitken.
Victory at the season opening round, combined with fastest lap and pole position, meant that Lando Norris held a thirteen point advantage heading into the Sunday Sprint Race, with teammate Sérgio Sette Câmara the man behind. Next up was Artem Markelov after his stirring drive through the field, while Alexander Albon completed the top four.
In the Teams Championship Carlin held a commanding lead over the rest of the field, being one of only three teams to get both their drivers in the points. Indeed, their one-two finish ensured that they were 34 points clear of second placed Russian Time, with the rest of the field strong out behind the Russian effort. Indeed, only Campos Racing, Charouz and Trident had failed to score at the first race.
Only point scoring drivers and teams are shown.
Images and Videos:
- ↑ 'FIA Formula 2 Championship 2018 Season Calendar Unveiled', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula 2, 06/11/2017), http://www.fiaformula2.com/News-Room/News/2017/11_November/FIA-Formula-2-Championship-2018-season-calendar-unveiled/, (Accessed 13/06/2018)
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 2.28 2.29 2.30 2.31 2.32 2.33 2.34 'NORRIS BREEZES TO MAIDEN VICTORY IN BAHRAIN FEATURE RACE', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula 2, 07/04/2018), http://www.fiaformula2.com/News-Room/News/2018/04_April/Norris-breezes-to-maiden-victory-in-Bahrain-feature-race/, (Accessed 14/06/2018)
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 'NORRIS GRABS MAIDEN F2 POLE IN THRILLING BAHRAIN QUALIFYING SESSION', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula 2, 06/04/2018), http://www.fiaformula2.com/News-Room/News/2018/04_April/Norris-grabs-pole-in-thrilling-Bahrain-qualifying-session/, (Accessed 14/06/2018)
- ↑ 'Teams and Drivers', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula 2, 2018), http://www.webcitation.org/6ySMzYNSv, (Accessed 14/06/2018)
- ↑ 'Sakhir: Qualifying Classification', fia.com, (FIA, 2018), https://www.fia.com/events/formula-2-championship/season-2018/qualifying-classification, (Accessed 14/06/2018)
- ↑ 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 6.14 6.15 6.16 6.17 6.18 'Formula 2 2018 - Round 1 - Sakhir International Ci', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula Two, http://www.fiaformula2.com/Multimedia/Videos/, (Accessed 15/06/2018)
- ↑ 'Formula 2 2018 Results: Bahrain Race 1', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula 2, 2018), http://www.fiaformula2.com/Results/?seasonid=175&raceid=983, (Accessed 14/06/2018)