Alexander Albon wins thrilling F2 Feature Race in Azerbaijan
Jack Aitken stalls at start, but charges through pack to finish second
By William Esler
Last Updated: 29/04/18 4:15pm
Alexander Albon took his first F2 victory as the support series served up another astonishing race at the Azerbaijan GP.
The record books might show that the pole sitter took the win, but that does not tell the story of the race at all.
Before the race had even started Lando Norris stalled from the front row on the formation lap and had to be pushed into the pitlane, while British driver Jack Aitken stalled at the actual race start.
Remarkably, despite being stranded on the grid at the start, Aitken would come through the pack to finish second in an action-packed race for the Renault reserve driver's first podium finish in F2.
With Norris not on the grid, that gave Mercedes reserve driver George Russell a gap to go from the third position on the grid to the lead at Turn One, but Albon remained calm to retake the lead into Turn Four.
The race was soon neutralised when Campos' Luca Ghiotto spun into the wall at Turn 16.
The race resumed just before the pit window opened and after being unable to find a way past Albon, Russell pitted at the end of lap 6 - the earliest he could as he attempted to make the undercut work.
Albon was in a lap later, but so were most of the field meaning the DAMS driver had to be held in his pitbox to avoid an unsafe release and he resumed not only behind Russell, but also the Prema of Nyck De Vries.
Behind the leaders there was action everywhere you looked as Aitken, Norris and Artem Markelov charged through the field.
The second Campos of Roy Nissany was in the wall on lap 18 with the team describing both crashes as unacceptable driver errors.
At the restart, De Vries made a very late move on Russell into Turn One, but had no chance of slowing his Prema in time for the corner. Spotting him, Russell opened the steering on his ART to avoid a collision, but both drivers had to take to the runoff with Russell dropping to 15th.
WATCH: Drama at the restart as the leaders take each other off down at Turn One!— Sky Sports F1 🏎 (@SkySportsF1) April 28, 2018
"Standard De Vries," says Russell. "You've 12 laps and he makes a hero move on lap one."
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Markelov also ran off in the incident and three laps later he would retire from the race with an engine failure.
The incident left Ferrari Academy Driver Antonio Fuoco in the lead for series newcomers Charouz, but with four laps to go Albon retook the lead into Turn One.
Then on the penultimate lap, Aitken continued his remarkable charge from the back to overtake Fuoco and take second for ART.
Fellow Briton Norris would finish sixth and maintain his championship lead which is now just six points over Albon.
The Sprint Race sees the top eight reversed and you can see all the action from Baku live on Sky Sports F1 from 10am on Sunday.