Russian Time scored a superb 1-2 in the Monza F2 Feature race with rookie Tadasuke Makino heading home Artem Markelov on split tyre strategies.
Makino started 14th on the grid on the prime compound Pirelli tyre and led the 30-lap race by lap 5 as the option compound went off sooner than predicted with the cars on heavy fuel. Team mate Markelov ran the reverse option/prime strategy, in keeping with most of the front-runners. Artem did a fine job to lead after qualifying fourth, fighting past Alexander Albon and championship leader George Russell. He pitted as soon as he ceded the lead to his team mate and continued to lead the ‘option/prime race’ throughout, fourth on the road.
Tada coped superbly with the pressure of leading, showing consistent pace until stopping for the option compound tyre just three laps from the end. He pitted out just 3s in front of Artem and was a delighted winner as the team celebrated its first 1-2 of 2018. Albon claimed the final podium position.
Tadasuke Makino: “I’ve got to say a big thank-you to the team for the great strategy and its perfect execution. I pulled off some great overtakes early in the race and got in front by lap 5. After that it was a question of making no mistakes and making the most of a clear track. It feels fantastic to win an F2 race in my first season, especially at a historic place like Monza!”
Artem Markelov: “I’ve always gone well at Monza but was still hunting my first podium. I did everything I could today! The start was good, I led into Turn 1, had some great battles and then controlled things. It was just a shame for me that the reverse strategy turned out quicker. But if that’s the case, there was no-one better to win than my team mate, so well done Tada!”
Svetlana Strelnikova (Team principal): “Wow! As a team it feels like we won two races today – the prime/option and the option/prime. Both drivers were immaculate: Tada led that race as if he had been doing it all his life at this level. Artem did a brilliant job from lights to flag. I think they both deserved 25 points today and the performance from the whole team was flawless.”