Artem Markelov wins F2 Sprint Race after superb tyre management
Britain's Lando Norris leaves Bahrain with the championship lead
By William Esler
Last Updated: 29/04/18 4:14pm
Artem Markelov took victory in the Formula 2 Sprint Race in Bahrain as he once again showcased his tyre management skills.
The 23 laps in the desert put the medium Pirelli tyres under pressure and the teams had to decide whether to make a pit stop or find the right balance between tyre saving and speed to make it to the flag.
In 2017 Prema pitted Charles Leclerc and the Monegasque driver became the first driver in GP2/F2 history to win a Sprint Race after making a stop.
The Italian team tried the tactic once again this year, with Nyck de Vries pitting from the lead on lap 10, but despite lapping close to four seconds quicker than Markelov on the fresh tyres, he had lost too much time and finished fifth.
Instead it was the Russian who took victory after showing that even with a new car for 2018, he still has superb tyre management skills.
Behind Markelov, Maximilian Gunther, who had started from pole, held off the two Carlin drivers Sergio Sette Camara and Lando Norris to take second spot, with Camara completing the podium.
Norris leaves Bahrain with the championship lead, but it could have been even better for the McLaren junior had it not been for an engine misfire early in the race that saw him slow on the pit straight as the new turbo charged unit cut out at the end of the second lap.
Another British driver having problems was George Russell. He stalled on the grid at the start, having lined up in fourth position, which had become third after Sean Gelael stalled on the formation lap. Russell's compatriot and ART team-mate Jack Aitken also stalled on at the start.
The new F2 2018 car is certainly proving more difficult to get off the line than it's predecessor.
The F2 action returns in Baku with the races on April 28 and 29, live on Sky Sports F1.