Both Artem Markelov and Luca Ghiotto had unfortunate races for different reasons in the penultimate feature race of the 2017 F2 Championship at Jerez, Spain, but emerged with fifth and seventh places respectively.
Artem, starting fifth, suffered too much wheelspin off the line and then a problematic pit stop relegated him to 17th place. Running an Option/Prime strategy, he was able to pick up a lot of places with his tyres in good condition after a late-race Safety Car. The intervention worked against his front-row starting team mate, however. Luca had pushed hard in the middle portion of the race while in third place, opening up almost 20s advantage over fourth. His good work was then undone when the field was closed up by the Safety Car, with his rivals on either Option or fresher Prime tyres after the restart. The race was won by Prema’s Charles Leclerc, who sealed the championship.
Artem Markelov: «As well as the wheelspin I got pushed wide at Turns 1 and 2 on the opening lap. It cost me more time when the car stalled in the pits and had to be restarted. I ‘d lost ground but when the Safety Car came out with five laps to go, the gaps were closed up. I had looked after my tyres and I was quicker than everyone else on Primes, and was able to finish where I started.»
Luca Ghiotto: «That’s the second time I’ve been messed up by a Safety Car this season! I ran a strong second early on and pitted on lap 12 when my Options went away and Rowland got past. I was undercut by Sette Camara and Albon but re-passed them and pushed hard to build a gap to fourth place. Without the Safety Car I would have had another podium, for sure. Seventh was a big shame but at least I get another chance from the front row tomorrow!»
Svetlana Strelnikova (Team principal): «I have mixed feelings. Luca drove well and deserved a podium but was unfortunate with the timing of the Safety Car. Artem had a messy start but managed to recover well, including a great outside of Turn 4 pass on Matsushita, while still keeping his tyres in good shape and being able to take advantage of the Safety Car. Both drivers are still within striking distance of Oliver Rowland for second in the championship.”