|2018 Monaco Feature Race|
The Circuit de Monaco in 2018.
|Date||25 May 2018|
|Event||2018 Monaco Grand Prix|
|Location|| Circuit de Monaco|
|Lap length||3.337 km (2.074 mi)|
|Distance||42 laps / 140.154 km (87.088mi)|
|Pole Sitter||Alexander Albon|
|Time||1:22.990 on lap 38|
|Artem Markelov||Sean Gelael||Roberto Merhi|
|Winner Team||Russian Time|
|2018 Barcelona Sprint Race||2018 Monaco Sprint Race|
The 2018 Monaco Feature Race, otherwise known as the 2018 Monaco Race 1, was the seventh race of the 2018 FIA Formula Two Championship, staged at the Circuit de Monaco on the 25 May 2018. The race would be remembered for a dominant display by Artem Markelov as the Russian driver claimed victory from Sean Gelael.
In the unique qualifying session at the Circuit de Monaco it was Thai racer Alexander Albon who claimed pole position, the DAMS pilot topping Group A. His effort of 1:21.727 was just enough to beat Nyck de Vries' Group B topping effort by 0.010s, with the rest of the grid formed with Group A on the "odd" side of the grid, and Group B listed on the "even" side.
A dramatic start to the race would see Albon fend off de Vries for the lead into turn one, as contact between Luca Ghiotto and Antonio Fuoco brought out the safety car. The former's Campos was left damaged at the side of the track, and required a couple of laps worth of attention to be dragged away.
Albon would make an excellent getaway at the restart, although de Vries managed to go with him to a certain extent at the head of the field. That left Markelov to fend off Arjun Maini for third, while, at the back of the field, George Russell took himself out of the race by slapping the wall at "Rascasse".
The first stops of the race came soon after, with Lando Norris leading those who started on the supersoft Pirelli compound in on lap ten. The Championship leader would then cause the second safety car of the afternoon by forcing Ralph Boschung into the barriers on lap thirteen. That fact prompted both Albon and de Vries to suddenly dart into the pits, only for the two to collide at pit-in, ruining both their races.
That handed Markelov the lead, and a perfect restart would see the Russian sprint clear of second placed Maini. Indeed, his fifteen lap sprint saw him build enough of an advantage to remain ahead of lead stopper Sean Gelael, although the Indonesian racer was within touching distance when the Russian racer emerged with eight laps to go.
Yet, Markelov was not to be troubled, and again sprinted clear on his supersofts to claim victory from Gelael, with ten seconds separating them at the line. Roberto Merhi survived the carnage to claim his first podium finish, while Fuoco survived his early collision with Ghiotto to take fourth.
The 2018 Formula Two campaign headed to the legendary Circuit de Monaco for its fourth round of the season, once again supporting Formula One and the Monaco Grand Prix. Indeed, F2 would get the circuit all to itself on Friday, with the Feature Race staged ahead of the first GP3 Series and Porsche Supercup races. The schedule would also be revised to allow for Monte Carlo's short, narrow layout, with qualifying seeing the field split into two groups of ten to reduce the issue of traffic.
Tyre-wise, Pirelli brought along their supersoft and soft compounds for the battle in Monte Carlo's streets, their softest available compounds. Of these, three sets of softs would be given to each driver, along with two supersoft sets, which were expected to last for the entire weekend. Pirelli also handed out three sets of their Cinturato wet tyres, although these could only be used if the circuit was declared "wet".
Elsewhere, Artem Markelov and Russian Time revealed that the Russian racer would be getting a new chassis for the weekend, after Markelov's struggles in qualifying in the opening three rounds. Markelov had cited a balance issue with the car as the reason for the switch, with the team unable to cure his lack of one-lap pace with setup changes alone. Earlier in the season Markelov had suffered two engine issues in Baku, while he had struggled in the damp conditions in Barcelona.
In terms of the Championship a double podium finish in Barcelona had allowed Lando Norris to hold onto his Championship lead, for second placed Alexander Albon had only taken two points out of his lead during the Sprint Race. Indeed, the Brit's advantage remained a healthy thirteen points over the Thai racer, while George Russell had held on in third, five off Albon's 67 point tally. Nyck de Vries and Sérgio Sette Câmara were next but had slipped further away, while victory in the Sprint Race had put Jack Aitken into the top six ahead Markelov.
Elsewhere, Norris' podium finish in the second Barcelona race had kept Carlin ticking over in the Teams' Championship, although their advantage had been cut at the head of the field. Indeed, the double score for ART Grand Prix in said Sprint had seen them leap back ahead of rivals DAMS for second, with the former arriving in Monte Carlo 21 points behind the British rookies. DAMS themselves were sat on 88 points, eighteen behind ART, while Pertamina Prema and Russian Time had lost further ground.
The full entry list for the 2018 Monaco Feature Race is displayed below:
Qualifying at the Circuit de Monaco was, as ever, a unique affair, with a new procedure required to accommodate the narrow city streets. Indeed, with traffic a universal headache for drivers at the best of times, it was decided that the field would be split into two groups, based on race number, for the session. Each group would get sixteen minutes on track to set a time, with the grid set with Group A on one side and Group B on the other.
The random draw during the drivers' meeting would see Group A formed by drivers in odd numbered cars, meaning they would head out of the pits first. Regardless, the sixteen minute session was, as ever, heralded by the sight of a Trident squirming out of the pits, with Santino Ferrucci at the wheel. The rest of the field, led by Artem Markelov and Lando Norris were out just behind, with Norris blasting past the former pair to guarentee himself some clear running.
First blood would ultimately go to Norris, with the Group A field only completing a couple of laps before stopping for fresh supersoft Pirellis. The closest man to Norris' best would be Jack Aitken, before Norris put himself in the spotlight by blocking Alexander Albon, who was on course to at least match Aitken. The rest of the field were a small way back, before Markelov set the ball running for the second set of quali-laps.
Indeed, the Russian's opening effort during the second run saw him shoot ahead of Norris, although Norris was charging around half a lap behind. Yet, Norris would not get the chance to defend his effort, for the F2 rookie glanced off the barriers at Piscine and smashed his front wing, putting him in the pits. Ferrucci then caused a stir by besting Markelov's effort, only for the Russian Time to flash past a few moments later to claim a 1:21.834.
That seemed to be that for group A, with no real improvements coming from the remaining drivers. That was, until Albon went charging through the final sector at record speed, and duly recorded a 1:21.727, ousting Markelov by a tenth. The Russian racer himself had run out of time to respond, and so it was Albon who sat on provisional pole ahead of the second group.
As expected the second group of the session would feature all of the even numbered drivers, led out, as in group A's period, by the Trident of Arjun Maini. Unlike his American teammate, however, Maini would not only set the opening lap of the session, but looked set to top the times before the mid-session pause, for George Russell and Sérgio Sette Câmara both missed his mark. Indeed, everyone would require at least a lap before Maini's time could be beaten, with Nyck de Vries the man to do so before the field swept in for fresh Pirellis.
Câmara led the post-change charge onto the circuit in the final minutes, with the Brazilian going on to best de Vries' early time. The Dutchman looked set to respond only to come across a slow Luca Ghiotto in the final sector, meaning he had to complete another lap before challenging again. Ultimately it was an ultra clean effort for the Pertamina Prema pilot, with de Vries going fastest in the group with a 1:21.737.
There was to be no improvement after that point, with the rest of group B only finding a few hundredths to shuffle one-another across the grid. Furthermore, a heavy accident for Câmara would see the session stopped prematurely, for the Brazilian's Carlin had buried itself into the barriers at turn one. Fortunately Câmara escaped with no major injuries, although a badly bruised hand would cause the officials to refuse his entry to the race.
As for the overall order it was Albon on pole ahead of de Vries, for the Thai racer's 1:21.727 was 0.010s faster than the Dutchman's best effort. Ergo, the odd numbered drivers would occupy the "odd" side of the grid, while even numbered cars would line up on the "even" section of the grid. Post qualifying penalties could then shuffle the order, with several drivers, including Norris and Maximilian Günther, under investigation for a range of issues.
The final qualifying result for the 2018 Monaco Feature Race are outlined below:
|2018 Monaco Feature Race Qualifying Result|
|2nd||4||Nyck de Vries||Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||1:21.737||+0.010s||2|
|3rd||1||Artem Markelov||Russian Time||1:21.834||+0.107s||3|
|4th†||18||Sérgio Sette Câmara||Carlin||1:21.901||+0.336s||WD|
|5th||21||Antonio Fuoco||Charouz Racing System||1:21.948||+0.221s||4|
|6th||14||Luca Ghiotto||Campos Vexatec Racing||1:22.241||+0.514s||5|
|8th||10||Ralph Boschung||MP Motorsport||1:22.307||+0.580s||9|
|10th||2||Tadasuke Makino||Russian Time||1:22.420||+0.693s||11|
|11th||9||Roberto Merhi||MP Motorsport||1:22.569||+0.842s||8|
|12th||7||Jack Aitken||ART Grand Prix||1:22.597||+0.870s||10|
|13th||3||Sean Gelael||Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||1:22.654||+0.927s||12|
|15th||12||Nirei Fukuzumi||BWT Arden||1:22.707||+0.980s||13|
|16th||20||Louis Delétraz||Charouz Racing System||1:22.717||+0.990s||14|
|17th||8||George Russell||ART Grand Prix||1:22.977||+1.250s||16|
|19th||15||Roy Nissany||Campos Vexatec Racing||1:23.796||+2.069s||15|
|DSQ§||11||Maximilian Günther||BWT Arden||Disqualified||PL|
- Positions highlighted in blue denotes the driver qualified in Group B.
- * The grid order was based on the results of each group separately, with the odd numbered cars on one side, and even numbered drivers starting on the opposite side.
- † Câmara was not given permission to start the race after sustaining a hand injury in qualifying.
- ‡ Norris was handed a three place grid penalty for impeding Albon during the session.
- § Günther was disqualified from the results as he failed to stop at the weigh-bridge when told to do so. He was subsequently allowed to start the race from the pitlane.
|Nyck de Vries||______________|
It was a hot and unusually humid afternoon in Monte Carlo for the Feature Race, which was staged on the Friday in between the practice sessions for the Monaco Grand Prix. There was one late change to the grid as Sérgio Sette Câmara was withdrawn, the Brazilian's accident in qualifying having seen him ruled out with an injured hand. Otherwise the other nineteen qualifiers would take to the grid for the start, with a near 50-50 split between soft and supersoft Pirelli tyres.
There would be a lone staller left on the grid as the lights went out, Santino Ferrucci having made a mess of his getaway from sixth on the grid. Out front, meanwhile, Alexander Albon streaked clear from pole to take the lead from Nyck de Vries, while Artem Markelov chased them down. The rest of the field was then led by Antonio Fuoco into turn one, although only after the Italian racer had put compatriot Luca Ghiotto into the barriers just after pit-exit.
Ghiotto was left with a smashed front wing and broken steering, meaning he would make it no further than the scene of the accident, not even making it into Sainte Devote. That, combined with the stranded Trident of Ferrucci, meant that a safety car was called at the end of the opening tour. It was therefore still Albon leading from de Vries, Markelov and Fuoco, while Arjun Maini was up to fifth.
The restart was staged without issue on lap five, with Albon again sprinting clear of de Vries and Markelov to establish a small lead. Fuoco, meanwhile, would abandon the restart to serve the drive-through penalty awarded to him for putting Ghiotto into the wall, promoting Maini into the top four. The Indian rookie was therefore able to harass Markelov at the restart, but the veteran racer established his third place position on the run up through Massenet.
Albon and de Vries would escape up the road during lap seven, leaving Markelov an increasingly distant third. However, their terrific scrap looked set to be put on hold, for George Russell had hit the wall at Rasscasse, continuing his miserable weekend. Indeed, the Brit had tried an ambitious dive down the inside of Nirei Fukuzumi into the infamous hairpin, only to carry too much speed and nose into the outside wall.
However, quick work from the marshals, combined with the recent safety car, meant that Russell's car was able to be recovered under yellow flags. Some drivers did, however, take the opportunity to abandon their supersoft tyres, with Lando Norris leading that contingent in at the start of lap eight. Out front, meanwhile, the Albon/de Vries duel for the lead continued a few seconds away from Markelov.
Back down the order and Norris was now fighting back up through the field, the F2 rookie's fresh soft Pirellis having got up to temperature quickly given the high track temperature. However, he would get caught behind Ralph Boschung as the Swiss racer came out of the pits after his swap to softs, with Norris trying a move at almost every corner to get past. It would all end in tears, however, as Norris tried a half-hearted move up the inside of Antony Noghes, with the subsequent contact bouncing Boschung into the outside wall at the end of lap twelve.
With Boschung's car left with smashed left hand suspension a safety car was required to remove it from the circuit, which duly picked up Albon and de Vries at the start of lap fourteen. Those two subsequently decided to pit at the end of that lap, although a late call to Albon ultimately saw the Thai race pull in right across the nose of de Vries as the entered the pits. The resulting contact spun Albon's DAMS around, while de Vries escaped with seemingly minimal damage, having been completely innocent.
That incident bumped de Vries down the order, while Albon lost valuable time after he stalled trying to get his car back onto the track. Out front, meanwhile, it was Markelov whom would control the restart, with the Russian controlling the restart perfectly at the start of lap sixteen. Maini was therefore left to fend off Jack Aitken at the restart, while Sean Gelael headed the list of drivers who had completed their stops down in eighth.
Having rejoined just behind Gelael, de Vries' seemed to be struggling with his fresh supersoft tyres, and duly slid down the order as half-distance came and went. Ultimately the Dutchman's issues were a legacy of his smack from Albon, with de Vries resigned to retirement on lap 22. Albon himself, meanwhile, was under investigation for causing the collision, but would retire with his own issues before he could be sentenced.
Out front, meanwhile, the final soft stops were to be made after lap 30, with Aitken and Fukuzumi pitting at the end of the 31st tour. Markelov was still leading and pushing hard, knowing that he would need a twenty-five second gap over Gelael to pit and retain the lead over the Indonesian racer. Indeed, the moment that the gap between Markelov and Gelael hit that mark, courtesy of a series of fastest laps, the Russian Time swept into the pits.
Ultimately, Markelov would rejoin a safe three seconds clear of Gelael, before blasting off to set a series of new fastest laps. Elsewhere, Maini rejoined after his stop right in the sights of Norris, but was able to keep the Brit at bay on his fresh supersofts for eighth. Nicholas Latifi, meanwhile, would complete another couple of laps ahead of Maximilian Günther, who both stopped with seven laps to go.
With that the race was run, with Markelov setting an excellent pace in the closing stages to claim victory by over ten seconds from Gelael. Behind the Indonesian racer came Roberto Merhi after a very quiet afternoon, while Louis Delétraz emerged in fourth just ahead of Maini. Norris claimed sixth to maintain his Championship lead ahead of Aitken in seventh, while Antonio Fuoco grabbed pole for the Sprint Race by finishing eighth.
The final classification of the 2018 Monaco Feature Race is displayed below:
|2018 Monaco Feature Race Race Result|
|Pos.||No.||Name||Team||Laps||Race Time||Fastest lap||Pts.|
|1st||1||Artem Markelov||Russian Time||42||1:02:03.286||1:22.990||27|
|2nd||3||Sean Gelael||Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||42||+10.713s||1:24.003||18|
|3rd||9||Roberto Merhi||MP Motorsport||42||+15.489s||1:24.276||15|
|4th||20||Louis Delétraz||Charouz Racing System||42||+19.236s||1:24.073||12|
|7th||7||Jack Aitken||ART Grand Prix||42||+21.986s||1:23.356||6|
|8th||21||Antonio Fuoco||Charouz Racing System||42||+23.855s||1:23.752||4|
|10th||12||Nirei Fukuzumi||BWT Arden||42||+30.944s||1:23.797||1|
|11th*||11||Maximilian Günther||BWT Arden||42||+31.532s||1:22.472|
|12th||15||Roy Nissany||Campos Vexatec Racing||42||+49.749s||1:25.220|
|14th||2||Tadasuke Makino||Russian Time||39||+3 Laps||1:25.624|
|Ret||4||Nyck de Vries||Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||19||Damage||1:24.886|
|Ret||10||Ralph Boschung||MP Motorsport||11||Accident||1:26.560|
|Ret||8||George Russell||ART Grand Prix||5||Accident||1:27.536|
|Ret||14||Luca Ghiotto||Campos Vexatec Racing||0||Accident||—|
|DNS†||18||Sérgio Sette Câmara||Carlin|
- Bold indicates a driver started from pole.
- Italics indicate that a driver set fastest lap.
- * Günther set the fastest lap of race but did not finish in the top ten.
- † Câmara was not allowed to start the race after picking up a hand injury in qualifying.
- Third pole position in a row for Alexander Albon.
- Artem Markelov claimed his seventh victory in Formula Two.
- It was also the Russian racer's eighth triumph at GP2/F2 level.
- Russian Time earned their eighth win as an entrant in F2.
- This was also the eighteen victory for RT at GP2/F2 level.
- Sean Gelael claimed his first podium visit in F2.
- It was only his second podium finish in either GP2 or F2, and his first since 2016.
- Maiden podium finish for Roberto Merhi.
A second victory of the season, combined with fastest lap, put Artem Markelov back in the title hunt, although Championship leader Lando Norris had managed to extend his lead. Indeed, the F2 rookie's advantage had grown to seventeen points over second placed Alexander Albon, while Markelov had slotted into third, a further eight behind. George Russell was next ahead of Jack Aitken, while Roy Nissany had become the only man yet to score after Louis Delétraz claimed his first points finish of the year.
In the Teams Championship it was still advantage Carlin at the head of the field, the British squad heading into the Sprint Race with a 23 point lead. ART Grand Prix had remained their closest challengers, inching clear of rivals DAMS, while Pertamina Prema had also gained ground in fourth. Russian Time were the biggest winners but remained fifth, while BWT Arden slipped to the foot of the table.
Only point scoring drivers and teams are shown.
Images and Videos:
- 'FIA Formula 2 Championship 2018 Season Calendar Unveiled', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula 2, 06/11/2017), http://www.fiaformula2.com/News-Room/News/2017/11_November/FIA-Formula-2-Championship-2018-season-calendar-unveiled/, (Accessed 13/06/2018)
- 'MARKELOV STUNS IN MONTE CARLO FEATURE RACE', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula 2, 25/05/2018), http://www.fiaformula2.com/News-Room/News/2018/05_May/Markelov-stuns-in-Monte-Carlo-Feature-Race/, (Accessed 19/06/2018)
- 'ALBON GRABS THIRD SUCCESSIVE POLE IN MONACO QUALIFYING', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula 2, 24/05/2018), http://www.fiaformula2.com/News-Room/News/2018/05_May/Albon-grabs-third-successive-pole-in-Monaco-qualifying/, (Accessed 19/06/2018)
- 'SOFT AND SUPERSOFT TYRES IN MONACO FOR FORMULA 2', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula 2, 23/05/2018), http://www.fiaformula2.com/News-Room/News/2018/05_May/Soft-and-supersoft-tyres-in-Monaco-for-Formula-2/, (Accessed 19/06/2018)
- Jack Benyon, 'Markelov to replace "strange" chassis for Monaco', motorsport.com, (Motorsport Network, 22/05/2018), https://www.motorsport.com/fia-f2/news/markelov-replace-strange-chassis-for-monaco-1040391/?s=1, (Accessed 19/06/2018)
- 'Teams and Drivers', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula 2, 2018), http://www.webcitation.org/6ySMzYNSv, (Accessed 14/06/2018)
- 'GROUPS DECIDED FOR MONACO FIA F2 QUALIFYING', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula 2, 23/05/2018), http://www.fiaformula2.com/News-Room/News/2018/05_May/Groups-decided-for-Monaco-FIA-F2-qualifying/, (Accessed 19/06/2018)
- '2018 ROUND 4 POST-QUALIFYING PENALTIES', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula 2, 24/05/2018), http://www.fiaformula2.com/News-Room/News/2018/05_May/2018-Round-4-post-qualifying-penalties/, (Accessed 19/06/2018)
- 'Formula 2 2018 Results: Monaco', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula 2, 2018), http://www.fiaformula2.com/Results/?raceid=986&seasonid=175, (Accessed 19/06/2018)
- 'F2 Feature Race: Monaco', skysports.com, (Sky plc., 2018), http://www.skysports.com/watch/video/sports/f1/11385088/f2-feature-race-monaco, (Accessed 20/06/2018)