|2018 Barcelona Feature Race|
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in 2018
|Date||12 May 2018|
|Event||2018 Spanish Grand Prix|
|Location||Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain|
|Lap length||4.655 km (2.892 mi)|
|Distance||36 laps / 172.235 km (107.022 mi)|
|Pole Sitter||Alexander Albon|
|Time||1:30.550 on lap 36|
|George Russell||Nyck de Vries||Lando Norris|
|Winner Team||ART Grand Prix|
|2018 Baku Sprint Race||2018 Barcelona Sprint Race|
Qualifying would see Alexander Albon claim pole position amid a late flurry of laps in the thirty minute session, a result which ultimately earned him a new contract with DAMS. Nyck de Vries was second ahead of Luca Ghiotto, while Russell grabbed fourth in his ART Grand Prix.
It was de Vries who made the best getaway from the grid at the start of the race, for pole sitter Albon made a miserable getaway after making a small mistake with his clutch. Indeed, Albon would also get mugged by Russell and Ghiotto before the first corner, moments before Maximilian Günther was spat into the gravel at turn two.
The first VSC of the day was thrown to recover the German rookie, with the race restarting on lap four. At the restart Albon would dive past Ghiotto, while both were caught by Lando Norris, recovering from a poor quali-performance given his position in the Championship. de Vries and Russell, meanwhile, would pull away at the front of the field, with the Brit elbowing his way past the Dutchman on lap six.
A second VSC was thrown a few moments later, with the two MP Motorsport racers Ralph Boschung and Roberto Merhi knocking each other out in the middle of the pack. The race resumed once parts of Boschung's car had been removed on lap eight, with Russell pulling clear while de Vries lost out to Albon.
VSC number three came and went a couple of laps later, with Arjun Maini throwing his Trident into the wall at turn five. That ended just in time for the stops, with Albon the big loser as his medium compound Pirellis lost pace a lap before everyone else's.
The fourth VSC came in the middle of the pit window, for Sean Gelael had removed himself from the proceedings by running into Louis Delétraz. The final stops had to be completed once the VSC had been withdrawn, while the race itself would switch to a timed finish after the delays.
Ultimately, Russell would avoid all of the confusion to claim his second straight victory, while de Vries fended off a late charge from Norris in the closing stages. Ghiotto came home fourth ahead of Albon, with Jack Aitken and Sérgio Sette Câmara completing the top seven. Artem Markelov was next, and scored the points for setting the fastest lap in the top ten, with Tadasuke Makino and Antonio Fuoco the last of the scorers.
The 2018 FIA Formula Two campaign rolled into the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for its third pair of races of the season, once again supporting Formula One. Historically the Barcelona circuit had been punishing to tyres, a mix of an abrasive surface and its long high to medium speed corners. However, a re-surface prior to the 2018 campaign had made the circuit a lot smoother than before, meaning Pirelli could bring along their medium and soft compound P-Zero tyres for the F2 field.
Away from Baku and the new Dallara F2 2018 cars had come under fire for their tricky clutch, which had caused an alarming number of stalls at the start of each of the first four races. Indeed, with more and more drivers adding their voices to the early complaints, the FIA and F2 agreed to complete a test with the promotion car to test out solutions to the problem. The solution that was ultimately pursued would be a remap of the clutch software, which was implemented in time for the trip to Barcelona.
Elsewhere, DAMS were debating as to whether they should hand Alexander Albon a full season contract, having initially re-signed the Thai racer on a race-by-race basis. Yet, having taken pole and victory in Baku, and duly climbed into second in the Championship, DAMS had to consider handing Albon a permanent deal. It was thought that a contract would be signed during the weekend in Barcelona, with a strong result for the Thai racer likely to make any offer certain.
Into the Championship as a whole and despite failing to stand on the podium in Baku, Lando Norris had seen his Championship lead extended in Azerbaijan, leaving him with a fourteen point advantage. Albon had retained second a point clear of Sérgio Sette Câmara, who would have been in second, a point behind his Championship leading teammate had he not been disqualified from the Sprint Race. Artem Markelov was next ahead of Nyck de Vries, while George Russell's maiden victory had moved him move into the top six.
In the Teams Championship Carlin arrived in Barcelona atop the standings, having left the Black Sea coast with 95 points to their name. The new F2 squad were 34 points clear of veterans DAMS after four rounds, with the French squad themselves in a solid second. ART Grand Prix were next ahead of Pertamina Prema, while Trident had finally got on the board, having moved to ninth in the table as a result of the second Baku race.
The full entry list for the 2018 Barcelona Feature Race is displayed below:
It was an overcast afternoon in Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the third qualifying session of the season, although the sun did make a few brief appearances. Otherwise, there were no issues ahead of the session, with all the drivers expected to use the soft Pirelli compound during the thirty minute period. Indeed, the top teams would expect to beat the old F2 qualifying record, a 1:29.285 set by Charles Leclerc in 2017.
For the third race in a row it was Trident's Arjun Maini who headed led the field out of the pits at the head of the queue, with Sean Gelael and Jack Aitken right behind. Gelael duly charged past the Indian rookie before the end of the warm-up lap, and would record the first flying lap of the session. Maini was next before Aitken set something of a standard in his ART Grand Prix, before some faster times came in the second set of laps.
Indeed, first Maini and then Nyck de Vries would beat Aitken's standard, before Nicholas Latifi hit the top of the charts with a strong time, faster than teammate Alexander Albon had set during practice. Albon himself would then go fastest with a pair of fastest first and second sectors. Any response from Latifi was to be cut short, however, for Santino Ferrucci decided to have a private accident at turn nine, causing a red flag.
After Ferrucci's Trident had been cleared away the field sprinted out of the pits, all using their second and final sets of softs. This time it was Latifi and Albon who led the field out onto the circuit, with the DAMS pair heading the rest of the field by a small margin. Latifi went first but just fell shy of Albon's mark, before the Frenchman himself took advantage of the tow from the Canadian's car to record a 1:28.142.
The rest of the field would then try to best the Thai racer's effort, although the two ARTs of George Russell and Aitken could only split the pair. de Vries was next and duly got his Pertamina Prema onto the front row, but was unable to best Albon's effort. Luca Ghiotto would then round out the session with a 1:28.400 to go third fastest, meaning Latifi, who had started the final runs in second, would ultimately start from sixth.
The final qualifying result for the 2018 Barcelona Feature Race are outlined below:
|2018 Barcelona Feature Race Qualifying Result|
|2nd||4||Nyck de Vries||Prema Powerteam||1:28.369||+0.227s||2|
|3rd||14||Luca Ghiotto||Campos Vexatec Racing||1:28.400||+0.258s||3|
|4th||8||George Russell||ART Grand Prix||1:28.524||+0.382s||4|
|5th||7||Jack Aitken||ART Grand Prix||1:28.579||+0.437s||5|
|7th||2||Tadasuke Makino||Russian Time||1:28.620||+0.478s||7|
|9th||10||Ralph Boschung||MP Motorsport||1:28.970||+0.828s||9|
|10th||9||Roberto Merhi||MP Motorsport||1:29.081||+0.939s||10|
|11th||21||Antonio Fuoco||Charouz Racing System||1:29.130||+0.988s||11|
|12th||20||Louis Delétraz||Charouz Racing System||1:29.136||+0.994s||12|
|13th||11||Maximilian Günther||BWT Arden||1:29.143||+1.001s||13|
|14th||18||Sérgio Sette Câmara||Carlin||1:29.256||+1.114s||14|
|15th||15||Roy Nissany||Campos Vexatec Racing||1:29.284||+1.142s||15|
|16th||3||Sean Gelael||Prema Powerteam||1:29.307||+1.165s||16|
|17th||12||Nirei Fukuzumi||BWT Arden||1:29.376||+1.234s||17|
|19th||1||Artem Markelov||Russian Time||1:29.585||+1.433s||19|
|______________||Nyck de Vries|
|______________||Sérgio Sette Câmara|
- * Ferrucci was unable to start the race after a fuel system failure.
It was a case of watching the skies ahead of the Feature Race in Barcelona, with dark clouds hanging overhead as the start time approached. Yet, in spite of a few spots of rain, and a general sense of water hanging in the air, the circuit remain dry, meaning teams would start the race on slick Pirelli rubber. Indeed, all of the attention would therefore be placed on the updated clutch system on the Dallara F2 2018s, which should have eliminated most of the chance of a driver stalling.
The would, ultimately, be a lone car stranded on the grid as Nicholas Latifi stalled from second on the grid. Fortunately everyone would find a way past the DAMS without issue, although the Canadian would lose the better part of a lap before he rejoined the fray. Indeed, Latifi would rejoin down in nineteenth place, with Santino Ferrucci missing the start entirely after picking up a fuel system issue in his rebuilt Dallara.
At the front, meanwhile, Latifi's teammate would lose out at the start, with Alexander Albon struggling to get his DAMS off the line as well. That allowed Nyck de Vries to sprint into an early lead, with Albon powerless to prevent George Russell and Luca Ghiotto from blasting past too. Russell himself would challenge de Vries into the first corner, but the Dutchman had the inside line into turn one and thus held the lead.
The rest of the field charged into the first corner behind them, resulting in a lot of near misses further back. However, those close calls quickly became contact, resulting in Maximilian Günther getting spat out of the pack in turn two, duly sliding into the gravel. The German soon became beached with damage to the front wing, prompting a VSC to be thrown at the end of the opening tour.
The rest of the opening lap would be equally eventful prior to the VSC's appearance, with Lando Norris attacking Albon into turn five after the Frenchman tried to take Ghiotto around the outside of turn four. Ultimately, Albon would fend off Norris on the exit of turn five in spite of the fact that the Brit had the inside line, and had enough of a run through the subsequent corners to pull away. They therefore came across the line still in fourth and fifth, with de Vries a couple of seconds clear of Russell and Ghiotto out front.
The race resumed on lap four, with status quo maintained for a single tour before Albon finally got ahead of Ghiotto. de Vries, meanwhile, would be hauled in by Russell, with the Brit getting right into the tow from the Pertamina Prema pilot out of the final corner at the end of lap five. DRS down the start/finish straight then allowed the ART to pull alongside, before Russell completed the move on the brakes into turn one.
After that came another pause to proceedings, for Ralph Boschung rather rudely put into the gravel by teammate Roberto Merhi at turn one. The pair were jousting over twelfth on the brakes into turn one, with Boschung trying to close his MP Motorsport teammate down as Merhi took the inside line. The result was a side on collision, with the Swiss racer duly sliding gently into the barriers at the end of the gravel trap.
The race resumed a couple of laps later, with Albon pulling right onto the back of de Vries at the restart, throwing a move past the Dutchman into turn one moments before another VSC was thrown. The source this time round would be Arjun Maini, who had gone straight on at turn five all on his own. The Indian racer seemed to have got out onto the grass on the run into the corner, with the Trident duly snapping away from him as he hit the brakes.
After the Trident had been pulled out of the wall the race resumed on lap fourteen, although those that had started on the soft tyres were all heading to the pits to make their stops. Out front, meanwhile, Russell continued to lead from Albon and de Vries, with all three using medium compound tyres. Indeed, their game plan was to run as long as they could before making the switch to softs, which had only lasted fourteen laps, eight of which had been under VSC conditions.
Unfortunately for Albon his tyres would fade first, allowing de Vries to charge past the DAMS into turn ten on lap 21 with a well timed dive. The Dutchman duly went charging off after Russell, catching him just before the pair dived into the pits at the end of lap 25. Albon, meanwhile, would abandon his mediums at the end of the 21st tour, causing him to drop down behind Norris and Jack Aitken.
The Russell-de Vries fight would burst into life after the stops, with the Dutchman just unable to get his Prema past the ART with a dive into turn one at the start of lap 27, locking up as he did so. Unfortunately any subsequent attempt to take the lead would be put on hold, for de Vries' teammate Sean Gelael would go skating into the first corner on the following tour. The Indonesian racer had, in truth, been helped into the gravel after contact with Louis Delétraz, the Swiss racer having moved into the Prema pilot on the outside of the braking zone into turn one.
The race resumed for the fourth time at the end of lap 32, with Artem Markelov and Nirei Fukuzumi both stopping from the front of the field, the last drivers yet to make their stops. That handed the lead back to Russell, although de Vries was right on his tail and duly sent his Prema skating inside the ART into turn five, locking up as he tried to make the corner. de Vries duly washed out wide on the exit allowing Russell to power past, while the mutual loss of speed for both allowed Norris to close onto their tails.
By this stage the race had been switched to a timed event, although that would have little consequence on the final result. Indeed, Russell put in an excellent set of final laps to pull clear of de Vries at the line, flying across the line to win for the second time in 2018. de Vries came home a relatively satisfied second ahead of Norris, while Ghiotto fended off a late recovery charge from Albon across the line.
The final classification of the 2018 Barcelona Feature Race is displayed below:
|2018 Barcelona Feature Race Race Result|
|Pos.||No.||Name||Team||Laps||Race Time||Fastest lap||Pts.|
|1st||8||George Russell||ART Grand Prix||36||1:02:58.902||1:30.624||25|
|2nd||4||Nyck de Vries||Prema Powerteam||36||+1.036s||1:30.821||18|
|4th||14||Luca Ghiotto||Campos Vexatec Racing||36||+5.714s||1:30.905||12|
|6th||7||Jack Aitken||ART Grand Prix||36||+8.214s||1:30.918||8|
|7th||18||Sérgio Sette Câmara||Carlin||36||+9.830s||1:30.606||6|
|8th||1||Artem Markelov||Russian Time||36||+20.857s||1:30.550||6|
|9th||2||Tadasuke Makino||Russian Time||36||+23.950s||1:31.341||2|
|10th||21||Antonio Fuoco||Charouz Racing System||36||+25.289s||1:31.673||1|
|11th||12||Nirei Fukuzumi||BWT Arden||36||+29.150s||1:30.143|
|12th||15||Roy Nissany||Campos Vexatec Racing||36||+36.719s||1:31.304|
|13th||9||Roberto Merhi||MP Motorsport||36||+58.771s||1:31.781|
|14th*||6||Nicholas Latifi||DAMS||35||+1 Lap||1:30.039|
|Ret||3||Sean Gelael||Prema Powerteam||27||Accident||1:32.172|
|Ret||20||Louis Delétraz||Charouz Racing System||27||Puncture||1:32.150|
|Ret||10||Ralph Boschung||MP Motorsport||5||Accident||1:33.785|
|Ret||11||Maximilian Günther||BWT Arden||0||Spin||—|
- Bold indicates a driver started from pole.
- Italics indicate that a driver set fastest lap.
- * Latifi set the fastest lap but did not finish in the top ten.
- † Ferrucci unable to start after a fuel system failure.
- Second victory for George Russell in Formula Two.
- ART Grand Prix claimed their fourth victory as an entrant in F2.
- Also their 52nd victory at GP2/F2 level.
Victory had pulled George Russell into the top three in the Championship standings, although the Brit was still eighteen points shy of his table topping compatriot Lando Norris. Indeed, Norris' lead over the rest of the field had effectively grown once again, with the F2 rookie outscoring second placed Alexander Albon, leaving his advantage at fifteen points. Elsewhere, Luca Ghiotto had shot up into eleventh after his major point score of the season, while Louis Delétraz and Roy Nissany were still yet to score.
In the Teams' Championship it was still advantage Carlin at the head of the field, the British squad ending the Feature Race 36 points clear of second placed ART Grand Prix. The latter squad themselves had displaced rivals DAMS courtesy of Russell's victory, as both pulled clear of Pertamina Prema and Russian Time in fourth and fifth. Charouz Racing System were next ahead of BWT Arden, while Campos Racing pulled ahead of MP Motorsport on count-back.
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 'RUSSELL PREVAILS IN ACTION-PACKED BARCELONA FEATURE RACE', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula 2, 12/05/2018), http://www.fiaformula2.com/News-Room/News/2018/05_May/Russell-prevails-in-action-packed-Barcelona-feature-race/, (Accessed 17/06/2018)
- ↑ 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 'ALBON TAKES POLE POSITION IN BARCELONA', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula 2, 11/05/2018), http://www.fiaformula2.com/News-Room/News/2018/05_May/Albon-takes-pole-position-in-Barcelona/, (Accessed 17/06/2018)
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 'F2 MOVES TO BARCELONA WITH SOFT AND MEDIUM TYRES', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula 2, 09/05/2018), http://www.fiaformula2.com/News-Room/News/2018/05_May/F2-moves-to-Barcelona-with-soft-and-medium-tyres/, (Accessed 17/06/2018)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Jack Benyon; Valentin Khorounzhiy, 'F2 set to test fixes for "unacceptable" clutch problem', motorsport.com, (Motorsport Network, 01/05/2018), https://www.motorsport.com/fia-f2/news/test-fixes-for-unacceptable-clutch-problem-1032406/?s=1, (Accessed 17/06/2018)
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 Jack Benyon, 'F2 form man Albon confirmed for full season with DAMS', motorsport.com, (Motorsport Network, 12/05/2018), https://www.motorsport.com/fia-f2/news/albon-dams-full-season-1036496/?s=1, (Accessed 17/06/2018)
- ↑ 'Teams and Drivers', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula 2, 2018), http://www.webcitation.org/6ySMzYNSv, (Accessed 14/06/2018)
- ↑ 'Formula 2 2018 Results: Catalunya Qualifying', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula 2, 2018), http://www.fiaformula2.com/Results/?raceid=985&seasonid=175, (Accessed 17/06/2018)
- ↑ 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 9.14 9.15 9.16 9.17 9.18 9.19 9.20 9.21 9.22 9.23 9.24 'F2 Race 1: Spain', skysports.com, (Sky plc., 2018), http://www.skysports.com/watch/video/sports/f1/11369589/f2-race-1-spain, (Accessed 17/06/2018)
- ↑ 'Formula 2 2018 Results: Catalunya Race 1', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula 2, 2018), http://www.fiaformula2.com/Results/?raceid=985&seasonid=175, (Accessed 17/06/2018)