Artem Markelov recorded his second Formula 2 victory of 2018 by taking advantage of a frantic Monaco feature race that saw erstwhile leaders Alexander Albon and Nyck de Vries collide in the pit lane.

The Russian Time driver started third, but inherited the race lead when pole sitter Albon and Prema’s de Vries came together at pit entry during the pitstop window, paving the way for Markelov to secure an unlikely win. 

Prema driver Sean Gelael claimed a remarkable maiden F2 podium in second place, despite starting 12th on the Monte Carlo grid, with former Manor F1 driver Roberto Merhi completing the podium with his first rostrum appearance in the series for MP Motorsport. 

Albon maintained position over de Vries at the start, as Luca Ghiotto’s race lasted a matter of seconds after the Campos driver was forced into the inside wall on the run to St. Devote by Charouz Racing System’s Antonio Fuoco - an incident which brought out an early Safety Car and left Fouco with a drive-through penalty. 

ART Grand Prix driver and early 2018 title contender George Russell - who lost track time in practice due to an engine issue and struggled in qualifying - ended his maiden single-seater race at Monaco in the barriers at La Rascasse, having tried an ambitious move on Arden’s Nirei Fukuzumi on Lap 7 in his bid to make early progress through the order. 

The race turned on its head on Lap 13 as Lando Norris pitched MP Motorsport’s Ralph Boschung into the wall having tried an over-ambitious manoeuvre into Anthony Noghes. The Carlin driver and championship leader received a drive-through penalty for the incident which saw a second Safety Car deployed, before race leaders Albon and de Vries collided at pit entry. 

Having shadowed Albon throughout the opening stint, de Vries tried to sneak up the inside as the pair entered the pit lane nose-to-tail but tapped the DAMS driver into a spin as both drivers dropped down the order and ultimately into retirement. 

That promoted Markelov into the lead, who opened up a 10-second buffer over the field before serving his mandatory pitstop on Lap 35. The Renault F1 development driver crucially returned to the circuit ahead of Gelael and controlled the closing stages to secure his second feature race win in Monaco. 

Charouz racer Louis Deletraz scored his best result in F2 with a brilliant run to fourth, ahead of Trident’s Arjun Maini in fifth. McLaren F1 reserve driver Norris recovered from his earlier drive-through penalty to salvage sixth place, beating fellow Brit Jack Aitken, who finished seventh. 

Fuoco sealed eighth place and reverse grid pole position for Saturday’s sprint race, while DAMS’ Nicholas Latifi and Fukuzumi rounded out the points-scoring positions to complete the top 10.

 

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