There were mixed emotions for Russian Time in France today. Japanese driver Tadasuke Makino continued his impressive rookie F2 season with another points score when he finished ninth amid tricky mixed conditions that saw him narrowly miss out on eighth position and Sunday’s Sprint race pole position.
Artem Markelov, meanwhile, was once again affected by the difficulty of getting this year’s cars off the grid as both he and series leader Lando Norris failed to get underway as the lights went out. After being pushed into the pitlane and finding himself a lap down, Artem regularly set lap times that were comparable or even stronger than the race leaders. Despite his best efforts, 15th was the result and he faces another challenging race tomorrow.
The race was won by George Russell, ahead of Sergio Sette Camara and Roberto Merhi.
Tadasuke Makino: «I made good progress early in the race and was particularly strong in the wet, passing Gunther and the Prema cars and getting up into the top six. I was having a good fight with Latifi in the closing laps, passed him at the chicane on the last lap. I was on course for Sunday’s pole but unfortunately he got me back on the grippier line after Signes. It was close!”
Artem Markelov: “We had good pace today and the way the race developed showed that there would have been opportunity from seventh on the grid, which makes my problem at the start even more frustrating. Norris didn’t move two slots ahead of me, and the clutch was sensitive. After the strong score we achieved in Monaco, it’s really disappointing.”
Svetlana Strelnikova (Team principal): «I share Artem’s frustration because it is not the first time we have seen such issues at the start of a race in 2018. But, I must congratulate Tadasuke on a fine drive in dry/wet conditions. We saw some drivers stop for wets and then go back onto slicks, but we made the right calls and Tadasuke drove intelligently, showing real fighting spirit. It’s a shame he missed out on the Sprint race pole but his two points were well-deserved.”