Artem Markelov will start the Paul Ricard F2 feature race 7th on the grid with a best qualifying lap of 1m45.250s around the 5.84km French circuit which returns to the Formula 1 calendar for the first time since 1990 and makes its debut on the F2 schedule.
Artem was eighth quickest after the first qualifying runs, with Japanese team mate Tadasuke Makino ninth, just a couple of tenths behind. But, as Artem found almost half a second on his second run to improve his starting position one slot, Tadasuke fell victim to traffic and failed to improve his time, dropping to 16th on the grid. Pole position was claimed by George Russell (1:44.469), ahead of Alexander Albon (1:44.635) and Lando Norris (1:44.781).
Artem Markelov: «”I can’t say that Ricard is one of my favourite circuits but I was improving and the times were tight – another couple of tenths would have put me on the second row. The car felt good and I think I am in a decent position to race well, so let’s hope I can maintain the momentum we picked up from Monaco a month ago.”
Tadasuke Makino: «”I was in the top 10 after the first run and so it was a bit frustrating to find traffic and fail to improve on my final run. But, the track temperatures are high in the south of France and tyre degradation could be a factor in the race, so lets see how strategy develops tomorrow.”
Svetlana Strelnikova (Team principal): «”Monaco might seem a long time ago but Artem’s great performance there put him back into the championship top three and we will be looking to build on that in the race tomorrow. We have not had a race at Paul Ricard but we had the first test of the new season here in March. The track temperatures will be much different in the heat of June, and it will be interesting to see the approaches taken with the SuperSoft and Medium Pirellis. Hopefully there will be opportunities for both Artem and Tadasuke as the race develops.”