Artem Markelov: “That was certainly no boring race!”

Artem Markelov inherited victory at Spa when Charles Leclerc was disqualified - Credit: Alastair Staley/FIA Formula 2

Artem Markelov initially finished second in the Feature race at Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday, with the Russian pulling off a great last corner move on Oliver Rowland to claim the position.

However, the Russian Time driver’s luck was in after he inherited the victory when on-track victor Charles Leclerc was disqualified for a technical violation, with the result coming after a strong drive that saw him pass both Racing Engineering drivers before catching and passing DAMS driver Rowland.

“It feels great to score a second feature race podium at Spa,” said Markelov, before the penalty for Leclerc was announced. “The team gave me a great car and my engineer was on the radio a lot telling me to look after the tyres.

“I managed that while also making some important overtakes. On the last lap I didn’t make the mistake of going for the inside of Rowland this time, but managed to cut back and get around the outside of him out of the last corner. That was certainly no boring race!”

Unfortunately for Markelov, he was unable to finish Sunday’s Sprint race, finding himself forced to retire with an exhaust problem, but the results of the weekend sees him sit just nine points behind Rowland in the championship standings with three rounds of the season remaining.

“It was a pity about the exhaust issue because I think I could have finished on the podium again,” said Markelov. “I got the damage early in the race in some contact when I overtook [Antonio] Fuoco, but I was right behind [Nyck] De Vries and Luca [Ghiotto] and planning to attack when I had a big loss of power and had to stop.

“Rowland only scored one point today though, so I am still in the second place fight!”