Artem Markelov scored his second feature race podium of 2016 with a fine drive to third place in the Abu Dhabi season finale under the floodlights of Yas Marina.
Markelov, who qualified third, did not make the strongest of starts but recovered well using an option/prime strategy. From his lap 6 pit stop, Markelov ran a very similar pace to race winner and now strong championship favourite Pierre Gasly. He was in second place until just four laps from the finish, when he had to give best to ART driver Nobuharu Matsushita, who ran the opposing prime/option tyre strategy and scored his best result of the season.
Raffaele Marciello also ran the prime/option strategy, pitting with six of the 31 laps remaining, but was limited to 10th place by a cracked exhaust and a stray wheel in the pitlane which caused him to slow down and stop as he attempted to rejoin the track.
Artem Markelov: «The whole weekend has been very strong and we had really good pace. The team did a great job at the pit stop to jump the other ART car and I'm delighted to score my second feature race podium of the season after Monaco. I think for pure pace this has been our strongest performance so far.»
Raffaele Marciello: «That could have been a much better result wthout my problems. I passed Giovinazzi on lap 7 and he eventually finished fifth, so I think that tells the story. I lost some power with the exhaust issue and then had to come to a complete stop as I was leaving the pits.»
Svetlana Strelnikova: «It's a shame that Lello had the two issues that compromised his race but Artem's podium is the result of a fine performance by him and the whole team. I think it is just reward for everyone that we re-took second place in the championship by two points from Racing Engineering, a position we aim to consolidate in the final sprint race of the year tomorrow. Well done to everyone!»