Artem Markelov finished a close fifth in the Spa-Francorchamps sprint race to move back into the Drivers’ Championship top five, with Russian Time team mate Tadasuke Makino narrowly missing out on the eighth top 10 finish of his rookie F2 season, in 11th place.
Artem started the race on the second row of the grid and found himself fourth at the end of the opening lap behind Nicholas Latifi, Luca Ghiotto and Feature race winner Nyck De Vries, who made a fast start. Artem then battled hard with McLaren junior driver Lando Norris before being unable to defend the Carlin driver who passed him on Spa’s Kemmel Straight with the help of DRS.
Artem passed Ghiotto at half distance in the 18-lap race but, as tyre degradation on the medium compound Pirelli became a factor later on, found himself relegated by Alexander Albon, who went on to claim the final podium place, behind Latifi and Norris. Artem closed in on De Vries, finishing the race right behind the Prema car.
Artem Markelov: “The DRS is effective on the long Kemmel Straight and if you are not behind someone, it’s quite hard to defend. I could not stop Norris going by but I was able to pass Luca. The last lap was really close with Norris, Albon, De Vries and myself all together as the tyres dropped off. I was hoping for another podium today and we weren’t far away.”
Tadasuke Makino: “When you are in the middle of the pack you have to find a compromise between attacking and making the tyres last, which was a factor today. I have enjoyed driving at Spa and wanted to finish in the top 10. I nearly made it and look forward to another classic track at Monza next week.”
Svetlana Strelnikova (Team principal): “Without the strategy element it wasn’t quite as hectic a race as yesterday in terms of action, and more about using DRS and managing the tyres. Artem was just 3s behind second place and Tada’s driving on his first visit to such a tough circuit, should be applauded. We now turn our attention to Monza, just five days away.”