Artem Markelov dominated the Sprint race at the Red Bull Ring on Sunday to secure his second victory of the 2017 FIA Formula 2 Championship season.
The Russian Time driver got a super start and then controlled the race, surviving both full and virtual safety car periods, pulling away from the rest of the pack to win by 1.458 seconds.
Behind him, Alexander Albon secured his first podium of the season with a strong drive for ART Grand Prix, while Oliver Rowland kept close company with the Thai driver to complete the podium, with the top three having relatively quiet races to those behind.
The safety car was deployed before the end of the first lap when front row starter Ralph Boschung was unable to get away off the grid, and he was hit from behind by Raffaele Marciello, who’s Trident car was left stranded on the straight just beyond the start/finish line.
Boschung was able to continue, but with Marciello’s car needing to be recovered and with a tractor on track, the safety car was called upon, with the field streaming through the pit lane until it was safe to resume racing.
Those trips through the pit lane cost Nicholas Latifi however, with the DAMS driver earning a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane.
On the restart, Antonio Fuoco attacked Rowland into turn four, but was delayed exiting the turn, which meant his team-mate Charles Leclerc, race winner on Saturday, hit the back of the Italian’s car and spun out. With the Prema Racing driver stranded on track, the virtual safety car was needed to ensure the car was safely lifted over the barriers.
Luca Ghiotto drove superbly to climb from fourteenth on the grid to claim an excellent fourth, ending a good day for Russian Time, with the Italian dispatching Fuoco with just four laps remaining, while Jordan King claimed sixth for MP Motorsport.
Latifi finished seventh on the road but dropped behind Norman Nato when his time penalty was applied, with Nato having climbed from twentieth on the grid to secure some points for Pertamina Arden.
Nato was able to benefit from a late race clash between Nyck de Vries and Robert Visoiu as the Rapax and Campos Racing drivers battled for eighth on the road, with both retiring in the pits with damage after trips through the gravel trap. Visoiu will take a three-place grid penalty for the incident in the opening race of the Silverstone weekend next week.
Despite his retirement, Leclerc still has a 49-point advantage over Rowland in the championship standings, with Markelov a further 3 points back in third.
Red Bull Ring Sprint Race Result
|1||6||Artem Markelov||RUS||Russian Time||40:32.190s|
|2||8||Alexander Albon||THA||ART Grand Prix||+1.458s|
|4||5||Luca Ghiotto||ITA||Russian Time||+5.840s|
|5||2||Antonio Fuoco||ITA||Prema Racing||+6.629s|
|6||15||Jordan King||GBR||MP Motorsport||+10.515s|
|7||20||Norman Nato||FRA||Pertamina Arden||+13.656s|
|10||14||Sergio Sette Camara||BRZ||MP Motorsport||+16.282s|
|11||21||Sean Gelael||INO||Pertamina Arden||+18.849s|
|13||3||Louis Deletraz||SWI||Racing Engineering||+21.301s|
|14||7||Nobuharu Matsushita||JAP||ART Grand Prix||+22.443s|
|15||4||Gustav Malja||SWE||Racing Engineering||+1:07.922s|
|16/RET||18||Nyck de Vries||NED||Rapax||+2 Laps|
|17/RET||12||Robert Visoiu||ROM||Campos Racing||+3 Laps|
|RET||11||Ralph Boschung||SWI||Campos Racing||Retired|
|RET||1||Charles Leclerc||MON||Prema Racing||Retired|