|2018 Sochi Sprint Race|
The Sochi Autodrom with DRS zones.
|Date||30 September 2018|
|Event||2018 VTB Russian Grand Prix|
|Location||Sochi Autodrom Sochi, Russia|
|Lap length||5.848 km (3.634 mi)|
|Distance||21 laps / 122.808 km (76.309 mi)|
|Team||ART Grand Prix|
|Time||1:50.501 on lap 5|
|George Russell||Sérgio Sette Câmara||Alexander Albon|
|Winner Team||ART Grand Prix|
|2018 Sochi Feature Race||2018 Yas Marina Feature Race|
The 2018 Sochi Sprint Race, otherwise known as the 2018 Sochi Race 2, was the twenty-second race of the 2018 FIA Formula Two Championship, staged at the Sochi Autodrom on the 30 September 2018. The race would see Championship leader George Russell take a significant step to the title, surviving a sudden downpour.
Nirei Fukuzumi would start the race from pole in dry conditions, and would immediately sprint clear off the line. That kept the Japanese racer clear of the chaos behind, with Alessio Lorandi taking Nicholas Latifi out at turn five resulting in an early appearance for the safety car.
The restart came on the third lap, with Fukuzumi again sprinting clear ahead of Russell, who had emerged from the chaos in second having started in fifth. However, the Brit would have to wait until DRS became active to blast into the lead, before sprinting clear of the Japanese ace early on.
Sérgio Sette Câmara would also take the BWT Arden early on, although he would be unable to match Russell's pace. However, as they sprinted clear of Fukuzumi the dark clouds hanging over the circuit finally burst, with rain quickly sweeping across the circuit on lap nine.
Niko Kari was the first man to suffer from the rain, spinning into the barriers moments before Jack Aitken spun out of the race. A VSC was called to recover the two abandoned cars, with most of the field diving into the pits for wets once the circuit was cleared.
Only the two Charouz drivers gambled on the circuit drying, and were duly punished when Russell and co. went charging past a few laps later. They duly slipped out of the points in the closing stages, briefly getting caught in a stunning duel between Artem Markelov and Nyck de Vries.
With that the race was run, for Russell would build an eight second gap over Câmara to claim victory, and a huge lead in the Championship with two races to go. Câmara duly finished a comfortable second, while Alexander Albon kept himself in the title fight with third after a quiet run.
The Sochi Autodrom remained unchanged from the Feature Race with no major concerns heading into the Sprint. Likewise, there were no changes to the grid after the Feature, meaning Nirei Fukuzumi would lead the field away from pole as expected.
In terms of the Championship victory for Alexander Albon on Saturday had launched the young Thai driver into title contention, moving into second ahead of Lando Norris. However, Albon remained thirty points behind Championship leader George Russell, who could all but wrap up the title with a round to spare during the Sprint Race if things went his way. Elsewhere, Nyck de Vries had moved ahead of Artem Markelov to complete the top five, while Roberto Merhi moved back ahead of Maximilian Günther.
In the Teams' Championship it was still advantage Carlin, with the British squad still holding a healthy 56 point margin into the second day in Sochi. Behind, ART Grand Prix had retained second, but were just a point ahead of their compatriots DAMS, with momentum with the third placed team. It was a similar story in the fight between fourth placed Russian Time and their pursuers Pertamina Prema, with no other significant changes to the order.
The full entry list for the 2018 Sochi Sprint Race is displayed below:
The grid for the second F2 race of the Sochi weekend was arranged according to the results of the Feature Race, with the top eight finishers reversed:
|______________||Sérgio Sette Câmara|
|______________||Nyck de Vries|
The final classification of the 2018 Sochi Sprint Race is displayed below:
|2018 Sochi Sprint Race Race Result|
|Pos.||No.||Name||Team||Laps||Race Time||Fastest lap||Pts.|
|1st||8||George Russell||ART Grand Prix||21||0:44:46.259||1:50.501||17|
|2nd||18||Sérgio Sette Câmara||Carlin||21||+7.438s||1:52.274||12|
|4th||4||Nyck de Vries||Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||21||+19.132s||1:52.237||8|
|5th||1||Artem Markelov||Russian Time||21||+22.258s||1:52.333||6|
|6th||15||Roberto Merhi||Campos Racing||21||+27.778s||1:52.561||4|
|7th||12||Nirei Fukuzumi||BWT Arden||21||+30.852s||1:52.237||2|
|8th||9||Dorian Boccolacci||MP Motorsport||21||+35.190s||1:53.002||1|
|9th||21||Antonio Fuoco||Charouz Racing System||21||+39.981s||1:52.341|
|10th||11||Maximilian Günther||BWT Arden||21||+47.076s||1:53.781|
|11th||2||Tadasuke Makino||Russian Time||21||+50.708s||1:52.423|
|12th||3||Sean Gelael||Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||21||+53.110s||1:53.012|
|13th||20||Louis Delétraz||Charouz Racing System||21||+53.404s||1:52.444|
|14th||14||Luca Ghiotto||Campos Vexatec Racing||21||+53.553s||1:52.388|
|Ret||7||Jack Aitken||ART Grand Prix||11||Spin||1:52.782|
|Ret†||10||Niko Kari||MP Motorsport||10||Accident||1:53.398|
- Italics indicate that a driver set fastest lap.
- * Maini was awarded a ten second time penalty for causing a collision.
- † Kari was handed a three place grid penalty for the Yas Marina Feature Race for exceeding track limits.
- ‡ Lorandi was awarded a five place grid penalty for the following race for causing a collision.
- Sixth victory for George Russell.
- Also the Brit's tenth podium finish in Formula Two.
- Russell also record his fifth fastest lap.
- ART Grand Prix claimed their ninth victory in F2.
- Also their 57th win at GP2/F2 level.
- Tenth podium for Sérgio Sette Câmara.
- Alexander Albon secured his tenth podium finish.
Victory combined with fastest lap ensured that George Russell would head to Abu Dhabi as the overwhelming favourite for the Championship, holding a 37 point lead with 48 left to fight for. Indeed, the only man who could now deny the Brit the title was Alexander Albon, for Lando Norris' miserable weekend left him 51 points shy of his compatriot. Norris was instead likely in a fight for third with Nyck de Vries, with Artem Markelov and Sérgio Sette Câmara in a duel to complete the top five.
It was status quo in the Teams' Championship heading into the finale, with 51 points between leaders Carlin and rivals ART Grand Prix, with a further eight back to DAMS. That meant that all three still had a shot at the title, although with only 78 points left to fight for it seemed as if it was Carlin's title to lose. Elsewhere, Pertamina Prema moved ahead of Russian Time, with Charouz Racing System still in the fight for fourth.
Only point scoring drivers and teams are shown.
Images and Videos:
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 '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 'RUSSELL CAPTURES WIN IN WET/DRY SOCHI SPRINT', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula Two, 30/09/2018), http://www.fiaformula2.com/News-Room/News/2018/09_September/Russell-captures-win-in-wetdry-Sochi-sprint/, (Accessed 30/09/2018)
- ↑ 'Teams and Drivers', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula 2, 2018), http://www.webcitation.org/6ySMzYNSv, (Accessed 14/06/2018)
- ↑ 'Formula 2 2018 Results: Sochi Autodrom', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula 2, 2018), http://www.fiaformula2.com/Results/?raceid=993&seasonid=175, (Accessed 30/09/2018)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 'ROUND 11 POST SPRINT RACE PENALTIES', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula Two, 30/09/2018), http://www.fiaformula2.com/News-Room/News/2018/09_September/Post-Sprint-Race-penalties/, (Accessed 30/09/2018)