Formula 2

Artem Markelov: “I don’t blame him, I blame myself”

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Artem Markelov blamed himself for his Feature race crash in Hungary - Credit: Zak Mauger/FIA Formula 2

Artem Markelov led the early laps at the Hungaroring on Saturday but fell behind Oliver Rowland during the pit stops, which would have dramatic consequences at the end of the race.

The Russian Time driver appeared to have better speed than the DAMS ace up front, but three laps from the end, aided by the use of DRS down the front straight, Markelov attacked Rowland, only to find himself edged onto the grass.

The Russian was a passenger in his own car thereafter, with a heavy impact on the rear of his car coming at the turn one barriers, but he was able to get out of the car unscathed before putting the blame on the incident onto himself rather than his rival.

“My trainer and I have a saying, ‘one more breath’ to do with mind management, and maybe I should have thought about that!” said Markelov. “But, it’s racing, I saw the opportunity, had DRS, and just went for it because we definitely had winning speed.

“Rowland went right but I was committed the same way and ended up on the grass, after which I was just a passenger. He was never going to open the door, so I don’t blame him, I blame myself.”

Starting towards the back of the field in Sunday’s Sprint race, Markelov attacked early on to make gains, and then gambled on switching to the Soft compound tyre during a virtual safety car.

Despite the switch to the faster tyre, he missed out on points by one place, finishing less than a second shy of team-mate Luca Ghiotto, and would have probably found a way through had their been one more lap such was his pace advantage.

“I did everything I could in a race on a tight track like Hungaroring, making up seven places on the first lap and then passing [Sean] Gelael into Turn 1,” said Markelov.

“We had nothing to lose by coming in for the option tyre under the VSC and I think I would have been challenging for the points had there not been another VSC a couple of laps later. I will fight back at Spa!”

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