By The1nsider 1 week ago




That’s what we call making a lasting impression on your first F2 race weekend! Newcomers Carlin amassed a grand total of 67 points thanks to aces Lando Norris and Sérgio Sette Câmara. The McLaren F1 reserve enjoyed a perfect opening to his 2018 season, claiming a maiden pole position, a commanding feature race win and a fastest lap to score 31 points by the end of Saturday. Starting from P8 on the Sunday reverse grid, he progressed up to fourth place behind his teammate whom he challenged for another podium finish in the final stages of the race. Norris had to eventually settle for fourth at the chequered flag but added another 8 points to his tally to lead in the Drivers’ Championship – 9 points ahead of Artem Markelov. Meanwhile, Sérgio Sette Câmara also had a remarkable weekend at Sakhir; he fought back from P6 on the grid to second at the finish line thus giving Carlin a 1-2 finish on their Championship debut. In the Sprint Race, the Brazilian’s neat driving skills took him up to third place having to defend from his teammate in the closing laps to take his second podium finish of the weekend. He lies third in the Drivers’ Championship, two points behind Markelov, while Carlin comfortably leads in the Teams’ standings, 37 points over RUSSIAN TIME.


When we found out Artem Markelov would be back on the grid for the 2018 campaign, we knew we were in for a treat. However, the 2017 F2 vice Champion seemed to struggle on the new F2 2018 car during the pre-season tests, and things looked grim after he qualified in a lowly P17 for the opening race of the season at Sakhir. It went from bad to worse when Markelov stalled on the starting grid and was pushed back in the pit lane to start the Feature Race from there. Cue the Markelov magic. True to his fighting spirits, the Russian ace put all his tricks to good use to carve his way through the field all the way to third place at the chequered flag. The next day, a strong getaway and a well-timed pass over Maximilian Günther put him up to P2. After race leader Nyck de Vries pitted Markelov was handed P1 and cruised to victory. He left Bahrain second in the Drivers’ Championship, and well in the hunt for the title. Artem is back!


Your first F2 race weekend is always tricky and it takes a cool head and a good dose of talent to score points on your first try. BWT Arden’s young gun Maximilian Günther did even better than that: first, he was one of the five rookies to qualify within the Top 10 on Friday with a laptime half a second slower than pole position. Starting from P10 in the Feature Race, he made no mistakes to take eighth place at the chequered flag – and with it, reverse pole for Sunday. He lost the lead to a charging Nyck de Vries at the start, and then another position to Artem Markelov a lap later, but he remained calm and collected to defend from Sergio Sette Camara even though he was clearly struggling with tyre degradation. With de Vries having to pit, Günther was promoted to second place at the finish line enjoying some well-deserved celebratory bubbles on his maiden podium.


It’s not that the Italian squad had a shocking weekend, but it’s definitely not the result they had in mind coming to Bahrain last week – although it started well with Nyck de Vries taking P4 in the qualifying session. Things were worse for Sean Gelael, whose session was shortened following a mechanical issue. The loveable Indonesian qualified P19, but did not let it hamper his spirits; he drove flawlessly up to seventh place on Saturday, one place behind teammate de Vries. The Dutchman made a strong start from P4 to muscle his way up to P2, but then did not manage his pace well and finished sixth. The next day, he got off the line perfectly to get into the lead of the Sprint Race into Turn 1, before later opting to pit for Soft tyres to rejoin in thirteenth place. De Vries displayed great overtaking manoeuvres to move up to P5 at the chequered flag, grabbing the fastest lap along the way. Meanwhile, Gelael suffered heartbreak after stalling on the starting grid from the front row, ending the day in P16. Expect the PREMA pair to fight at the front in Baku!


We’re not going to lie; there was a debate at The Insider magazine to decide who should be featured here… Eventually, we picked ART Grand Prix who showed so much promise at the start of the weekend, but left Sakhir with only 12 points and sixth place in the Teams’ Championship. George Russell had done a great job to qualify on the front row of the Feature Race, but too much wheel spin at the start meant he dropped down the order into Turn 1. P5 at the chequered flag was a cruel disappointment for the reigning GP3 Series Champion. His teammate (and 2017 GP3 runner up) Jack Aitken did not seem as comfortable as Russell during qualifying, taking P9. He also had a tough time during Saturday’s race following gearshift issues and nearly dropped to last. He was able to finish ninth, but was definitely gunning for more on Sunday. This is where ART unfortunately earned this place in the Good/Bad week feature, as both drivers stalled on the Sprint Race starting grid ruining all hopes for points. We hear the lesson has been learnt, and Baku should be a totally new story.


  Issue 13 F2 Feature
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