Russell holds off Markelov for Monza Sprint Race win

George Russell (ART Grand Prix), Artem Markelov (RUSSIAN TIME), Sergio Sette Camara (Carlin)
George Russell (ART Grand Prix), Artem Markelov (RUSSIAN TIME), Sergio Sette Camara (Carlin)

George Russell secured victory in the FIA Formula 2 Championship Sprint Race at Monza, Italy, capitalizing on an Artem Markelov lock-up into turn 1 to bag his first race win since Austria. Markelov followed the ART Grand Prix driver home, albeit one second adrift to collect a successive second place finishes. Sergio Sette Camara factored in the battle for the win, and the Carlin driver ended the race in third position.

After a slow getaway, polesitter Ralph Boschung immediately trickled back through the order as Nicholas Latifi – starting from the second row – surged into the lead with Russell and Markelov falling into order behind him. Sette Camara and Carlin teammate Lando Norris also enjoyed strong starts, but were unable to capitalize early on; the Brazilian dropped behind Alexander Albon, while Norris made contact in the opening corners and fell behind Luca Ghiotto and Feature Race winner Tadasuke Makino.

The order over the opening laps was relatively stagnant, and Markelov was given the order to close in on Russell to take advantage of DRS. Meanwhile, Norris moved up the order after Makino endured a large lock-up into turn 1 after just two laps, prompting the Japanese driver to pit for new tires on the following tour of the circuit.

Russell had caught Latifi on the fourth lap, and looked to pass the Canadian with DRS on their next visit to the start/finish straight. Cruising past with apparent ease, Russell snatched at his brakes and let Latifi back past, while Markelov seized the opportunity to steal through into second place. The Russian then took the lead on the following lap, barreling past on the straight to give his RUSSIAN TIME team the chance of securing back-to-back wins.

Having failed to come back at Markelov, Latifi was now under attack from Russell, who had Sette Camara for company after the Brazilian had dispatched Albon earlier on. Russell launched his attack on Latifi on lap 9, while Sette Camara found it far tougher to dispatch the DAMS driver, eventually making his way past as Albon came under attack from Norris behind them.

No sooner had Sette Camara steamed through into third place, Markelov ahead of them had locked up at the first chicane, taking the escape road which allowed Russell to streak past to assume control of the race. However, the lock-up hadn’t compromised Markelov’s pace and he immediately began to put Russell under pressure – with Sette Camara catching up to the pair to challenge for the lead. At the same time, Albon fell victim to Norris’ pass at Curva Grande, before dropping back with reported technical issues.

Markelov was a constant presence in Russell’s mirrors, but was unable to capitalize on his position with DRS to launch a serious assault on the British driver. A number of opportunities after the median point of the race came to nothing, and Markelov instead elected to drop back to preserve the life in his tires. This left him under fire from Sette Camara, but the Carlin driver was also unable to find a way past.

With some breathing space, Russell was able to start managing the gap to the cars behind him, especially as Markelov was now occupied by Sette Camara’s advances. Further down the road, Latifi was embattled by Norris, but was inch-perfect in his defense of fourth and refused to concede a further position.

Into the closing stages, Markelov was able to manage the gap to Sette Camara, but was unable to launch a late effort on Russell in a final play for the lead; the championship leader had opened the gap to beyond DRS range, cruising home to clinch victory and extending his championship advantage over Norris to 22 points. Markelov held onto second ahead of Sette Camara, while Latifi absorbed pressure from Norris to secure fourth. Ghiotto took sixth to grab double-points finishes from his home round, while Dorian Boccolacci took his first F2 points with seventh – as Jack Aitken beat Arjun Maini to eighth.

Russell stands at the top of the championship with renewed vigor, his 219 points shading Norris’ haul of 197. Albon remains third with 176. Carlin have 339 points in the teams’ standings, with ART on 281 and DAMS on 249 ahead of the next round in Sochi from the 28-30 September.

Sprint race result

1 George Russell ART Grand Prix 21 0.000s
2 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 21 1.056s
3 Sergio Sette Camara Carlin 21 4.347s
4 Nicholas Latifi DAMS 21 5.651s
5 Lando Norris Carlin 21 6.174s
6 Luca Ghiotto Campos Vexatec Racing 21 17.452s
7 Dorian Boccolacci MP Motorsport 21 20.751s
8 Jack Aitken ART Grand Prix 21 24.216s
9 Arjun Maini Trident 21 25.188s
10 Antonio Fuoco Charouz Racing System 21 28.453s
11 Louis Deletraz Charouz Racing System 21 31.875s
12 Alessio Lorandi Trident 21 34.792s
13 Nirei Fukuzumi BWT Arden 21 38.322s
14 Tadasuke Makino RUSSIAN TIME 21 1m04.378s
15 Roy Nissany Campos Vexatec Racing 21 1m17.780s
16 Maximilian Gunther BWT Arden 21 1m18.848s
17 Nyck de Vries Pertamina Prema Theodore 20 1 Lap
Alexander Albon DAMS 16 Retirement
Ralph Boschung MP Motorsport 4 Retirement
Sean Gelael Pertamina Prema Theodore 3 Retirement

Drivers' standings

1 George Russell 219
2 Lando Norris 197
3 Alexander Albon 176
4 Artem Markelov 160
5 Nyck de Vries 155
6 Sergio Sette Camara 142
7 Antonio Fuoco 112
8 Luca Ghiotto 94
9 Nicholas Latifi 73
10 Jack Aitken 62
11 Louis Deletraz 62
12 Tadasuke Makino 45
13 Maximilian Gunther 41
14 Roberto Merhi 41
15 Sean Gelael 29
16 Arjun Maini 24
17 Ralph Boschung 17
18 Nirei Fukuzumi 11
19 Santino Ferrucci 7
20 Dorian Boccolacci 2
21 Roy Nissany 1
22 Alessio Lorandi 0

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