|2018 Red Bull Ring Feature Race|
The DRS dominated Red Bull Ring.
|Date||30 June 2018|
|Event||2018 Austrian Grand Prix|
|Location||Red Bull Ring Spielberg, Styria, Austria|
|Lap length||4.326 km (2.688 mi)|
|Distance||45 laps / 194.670 km (120.962 mi)|
|Pole Sitter||George Russell|
|Team||ART Grand Prix|
|Time||1:17.062 on lap 38|
|George Russell||Lando Norris||Antonio Fuoco|
|Winner Team||ART Grand Prix|
|2018 Le Castellet Sprint Race||2018 Red Bull Ring Sprint Race|
George Russell claimed pole position in an intense half an hour of qualifying, with himself and Championship leader Lando Norris scrapping it out for position throughout. Their duel was briefly interrupted by Sérgio Sette Câmara and Jack Aitken, although Russell was the man to prevail by over two tenths of a second.
Unfortunately the numerous issues with the Dallara F2 2018 throughout the season meant that the FIA deemed it necessary to start the race behind the safety car, which did at least ensure everyone made it off the grid. That meant that Russell was effectively gifted the lead from the "restart" of the race on lap two, with the Brit sprinting clear of Norris into the first corner.
Yet, Norris would not let Russell disappear up the road, and the pair duly scrapped it out during the early stages as the rest of the field dropped away. That was, until the safety car reappeared five to allow Ralph Boschung to be dragged off the circuit, the Swiss having suffered an engine failure.
Everyone bar Arjun Maini, Artem Markelov and Sean Gelael would stop under the safety car, that trio having been the only three to choose to start of soft, rather than supersoft, Pirelli tyres. As such it was Maini who got the race back underway on lap nine, with himself and Markelov entering a private duel for the lead a short while later.
They, however, would be steadily reeled in by Russell and Norris, whom broke away from their fellow stoppers to catch the lead group. They, however, would require a second safety car appearance to get onto the back of the lead pair, with Maini the big loser once Aitken rolled to a stop with smashed suspension on lap twenty.
Maini bolted at the restart to establish another small lead, although Markelov would catch and pass before the end of the lap. That was it for Maini, who was duly barged out of the way by Russell, before a lock-up dumped him further down the order. Norris, meanwhile, would be temporarily caught out by the restart, meaning he had to fight past Maini and Roberto Merhi to get back on terms with Russell.
Into the closing stages and Markelov finally made his stop with five laps to go, dumping him down to an eventual eighth as Russell inherited the lead. The Brit duly cruised home to claim his fourth victory of the season, five seconds clear of Norris, while Antonio Fuoco snatched third away from Merhi at the final corner.
The Red Bull Ring took its turn to host Formula Two after the battle in Le Castellet, with F2 once again supporting the Austrian Grand Prix. Indeed, there would be a minor change to the circuit for the 2018 visit, with a third DRS zone added between turns one and three, designed to aid overtaking. Otherwise the circuit would be unchanged, unlike the F2 2018 which would receive some major software updates ahead of the race.
Indeed, another wave of throttle and clutch issues in Le Castellet a weekend earlier had caused more drivers to complain about the new-for-2018 car, with near universal calls for a change to be made. In truth, Mecachrome had been searching for a fix since the start of the season, with a software update prior to the Barcelona races helping to alleviate the issue, but without fully curing it. Regardless, Mecachrome had developed several new parts for the engine and clutch systems, which were to be installed once the cars were unloaded into the support paddock prior to practice.
In terms of tyres, Pirelli would bring along their soft and supersoft P-Zero compounds, with three soft sets, and two supersofts, sent to each of the drivers. The teams were also issued with three sets of wet tyres for each of their drivers, with the Styrian Mountains famed for an occasional downpour during a race weekend.
Elsewhere, Arjun Maini had been under-fire for throwing a very public tantrum, the Indian racer having blasted team, car and F2 itself having lost power during the Sprint race in Le Castellet. However, his team, Trident Racing could provide no evidence that his engine had suffered an issue, meaning the series organisers would not allow them to replace the unit ahead of the Austrian races. Yet, Trident were told that they could change the unit if the issue appeared in the Styrian Mountains, if they could demonstrate the fault to the organisers. The Indian racer's engine was duly replaced after practice, with Maini also apologising, partially, for his French outburst.
Into the Championship and with his main title rivals once again failing to score in Le Castellet's second race, Lando Norris had seen his Championship lead grow yet again, fifth place having ensured that he broke the 100 point mark. George Russell had retained second but slipped thirteen points behind, while victory in the Sprint had moved Nyck de Vries into third. Yet, the Dutchman's tally of 75 left him sixteen points off the back of Russell, although with more than half the season still to run there was still a lot of room to manoeuvre.
Another double score for Carlin in Le Castellet had ensured that the British squad again extended their Championship lead, leaving France with 172 points to their name. ART Grand Prix continued to lead the chase behind them, but had remained on 140 points, while DAMS inched closer to their rivals on 106. Behind them came Pertamina Prema on 104, a point ahead of Charouz Racing System in fifth.
The full entry list for the 2018 Red Bull Ring Feature Race is displayed below:
Qualifying for the Red Bull Ring feature race of 2018 was staged in warm but very overcast conditions, with dark clouds gathering around the Styrian Mountains. Regardless, it was expected that all twenty drivers, including Arjun Maini with his new Mecachrome engine, would complete the session on supersoft Pirelli slicks, with both sets set to be used. As for a reference time an effort around 1:13.396, which had taken Charles Leclerc to pole in 2017 was though possible, for the extra weight of the Dallara F2 2018 was likely to be countered by the additional DRS zone.
Championship leader Lando Norris achieved the rare feat of beating the Tridents out of the pits at the start of the session, with the Brit joined out on circuit by compatriots George Russell and Jack Aitken. They were soon joined by the rest of the field, although it was Russell who ultimately set the first lap of the afternoon, an effort swiftly beaten by Aitken and Norris. The first sub-1:16.000 was then set by Maini with his new Mecachrome V6t, with the rest of the field following in the Indian's wake.
After the first exploratory laps it was Russell who got the ball rolling in terms of seriously quick laps, recording a 1:14.101 to open his true account. Aitken and Sérgio Sette Câmara quickly joined the Brit in the 1:14.000s, before Russell eked out a few more tenths to dip into the 1:13.000s. Indeed, as the field swept into the pits for the familiar mid-session swap for fresh tyres, the Brit had daylight between himself and the rest of the field.
Keen to keep his already daunting momentum it was Russell who led the pack out of the second set of runs, the Brit barely allowing his car to cool before hitting the circuit once again. However, he was to be passed by teammate Aitken on their warm-up laps, before the #7 ART flashed around the Red Bull Ring to all but match Russell's earlier effort. Yet, Russell was only a few yards behind his teammate throughout the former's lap, and duly pulled clear of Aitken with a 1:13.571.
Much to Aitken's dismay both Norris and Câmara would best his best effort, with the Brit unable to get his ART back ahead of the two Carlins. Russell, meanwhile, saw that the two Carlins were on the move, and duly found another three hundredths to pull marginally clear of the two chasing Carlins. Ultimately, that slight improvement proved to be enough, with both Norris and Câmara not able to get ahead of the Brit's time, meaning it was Russell on pole for the second race in a row.
The final qualifying result for the 2018 Red Bull Ring Feature Race are outlined below:
|2018 Red Bull Ring Feature Race Qualifying Result|
|1st||8||George Russell||ART Grand Prix||1:13.541||—||1|
|3rd||18||Sérgio Sette Câmara||Carlin||1:13.823||+0.282s||3|
|4th||7||Jack Aitken||ART Grand Prix||1:13.961||+0.420s||4|
|6th||11||Maximilian Günther||BWT Arden||1:14.014||+0.473s||6|
|7th||20||Louis Delétraz||Charouz Racing System||1:14.104||+0.563s||7|
|9th||4||Nyck de Vries||Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||1:14.171||+0.630s||9|
|10th||2||Tadasuke Makino||Russian Time||1:14.201||+0.660s||10|
|11th||14||Luca Ghiotto||Campos Vexatec Racing||1:14.309||+0.768s||11|
|12th||9||Roberto Merhi||MP Motorsport||1:14.323||+0.782s||12|
|13th||21||Antonio Fuoco||Charouz Racing System||1:14.330||+0.789s||13|
|15th||3||Sean Gelael||Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||1:14.363||+0.822s||15|
|16th||10||Ralph Boschung||MP Motorsport||1:14.389||+0.848s||16|
|17th||12||Nirei Fukuzumi||BWT Arden||1:14.400||+0.859s||17|
|18th||1||Artem Markelov||Russian Time||1:14.589||+1.048s||18|
|20th||15||Roy Nissany||Campos Vexatec Racing||1:15.436||+1.895s||20|
|Sérgio Sette Câmara||4|
|Nyck de Vries||10|
It was a warm afternoon in the Styrian Mountains ahead of the first F2 race of the weekend, although clouds hung close the Red Bull Ring to suggest that rain was not far away. However, while the conditions were near-perfect for racing, the issues with the Dallara F2 2018's clutch throughout the season had been severe enough for the FIA to insist that the race start behind the safety car. The SC start therefore ensured that pole starter George Russell had a perfect opportunity to sprint clear at the start, although it would be a race that started without a staller.
Indeed, Russell was quick to sprint clear as the safety car pulled into the pits, with the Brit quickly moving clear of Championship leader Lando Norris. Those two led a break-away group containing Sérgio Sette Câmara and Jack Aitken, with the rest of the field stuck behind an ultra-defensive Arjun Maini into turn one. Indeed, the Indian racer was under intense pressure from Maximilian Günther the moment the duo crossed the start/finish line, with Maini just keeping the German at bay as they lunged into turn one.
As the top four broke away the attention focused on the aforementioned fighting behind Maini, with Günther driving right around the outside of the Indian racer through turn three to claim fifth. Maini tried hard to come back at the German into turn four, but Günther's supersoft Pirelli tyres allowed him to brake later than Maini on the softs to hold onto his newly acquired position. Behind them Roberto Merhi got onto the kerb on the outside of turn three and ran wide, while Norris gave Russell a fright out front with a lunge through turn six.
Yet, Norris' attack was to no avail, and so Russell duly charged across the line at the end of the opening tour with the lead. Norris, Câmara and Aitken were still in his mirrors however, with all four still pulling clear of the chasing pack. They were chased by Günther and Maini in fifth and sixth, with Maini still looking to get back on terms with the German, although they were both under attack from Louis Delétraz.
As the opening laps unfolded Aitken found himself falling back from the leaders, with the Brit soon having to defend heavily from Delétraz as the Swiss racer shot past Maini and Günther. Indeed, with DRS now active Aitken was very vulnerable, and only some very accomplished defensive driving into turn four kept Delétraz behind his ART. As they scrapped, Nyck de Vries attacked Maini on the brakes into the very same corner, only to suffer a rear-right puncture that sent him skating down the escape road.
The fighting in the train behind Aitken would continue for the following laps, and was only brought to a conclusion when Ralph Boschung stopped on circuit, causing a full safety car. The calling of the SC itself would cause confusion in the middle of the Aitken tussle, with Alexander Albon sending a lunge inside of Günther into turn three just as the SC boards came out. Realising this the Thai racer decided to hand the position back, although with Aitken and Delétraz slamming on the brakes upon seeing the SC boards the Thai racer almost found himself in the middle of an accident as he did so.
Fortunately there would be no contact in the Aitken pack, allowing all of its members to re-catch the leaders, for Russell and Norris had pulled out a significant margin over third placed Câmara in the opening stages. They, however, would immediately sweep into the pits at the end of the lap, joined by all of the drivers whom had started on the supersoft Pirellis. That left Maini in control of the race ahead of Artem Markelov and Sean Gelael, those three the only drivers to have started the race on softs.
Those three would be chased by Russell when the race restarted, although the lead trio would manage to break clear of the Brit as he came under attack from Norris. That distraction allowed Markelov to send a lunge up the inside of Gelael into turn three on lap fourteen, with the Indonesian racer powerless to defend from the Russian. Out front, meanwhile, Maini was breaking clear, although his hard earned two second lead would be destroyed a few laps later.
Indeed, the race had barely got into a rhythm when Aitken caused the third safety car period of the afternoon, the Brit having stopped on the exit of turn one. Indeed, the Brit had suffered a major failure entering turn one at the start of the lap, with the on-board extinguisher coming on as his car suddenly lost power into the 90° right-hander. Fortunately Aitken, bar getting covered in extinguisher material, was able to escape unhindered, with the race restarting as soon as his car was cleared.
Maini and Markelov would again ace the restart to sprint clear of Russell, who was left to fend off a resurgent Gelael as the race got back underway. Behind, Norris was under-fire from Merhi, whose brave dive to the inside of the Carlin into turn three earned him sixth place. Markelov, meanwhile, would take a couple of laps to line-up a move on Maini, and duly snatched the lead with an expert dive inside the Indian racer through turn four.
From that point Maini's tyres would fade, allowing Russell to dark past him with relative ease with eleven laps to go, prompting the Indian racer to pit. Markelov, meanwhile, was charging hard to build a lead to the chasing pack, and was successful in pulling out a couple of tenths a lap out of Russell behind. Further aiding the Russian's cause was the fact that Günther was on the war-path, with the German race fighting his way past Merhi and Norris, before fading in the closing stages.
With four laps to go Markelov finally made his stop, dropping him down to thirteenth behind Santino Ferrucci. That handed Russell a huge lead at the head of the field, while Norris had to elbow his way back past Merhi into turn three to reclaim second. Elsewhere, Fuoco pulled an excellent move on Câmara for fourth into the first corner, while Markelov pushed Ferrucci hard to catch the back of the top ten on his fresh supersofts.
Indeed, with Russell now cruising out front and Norris a solid second the final lap would be all about Markelov's pursuit of a points finish, with the Russian racer exiting the first corner just fractions of a second behind a cluster of three cars. Ultimately, a combination of DRS, fighting up ahead, and superior grip carried the Russian racer past all three on the run to turn three, with Markelov hitting the brakes alongside both Ferrucci and Günther. Ferrucci emerged at the head of the group having been on the racing line, while Markelov miraculously made the corner despite being on the grass as he hit the brakes. Furthermore, Ferrucci locked up and ran wide of the exit, gifting the Russian ninth place on the run to turn four.
With that the race was run, with Russell five seconds clear of Norris, while Fuoco mugged Merhi for third as attention focused on Markelov. Alexander Albon was next ahead of Câmara, while Tadasuke Makino completed a rather quiet afternoon in seventh. Next up was Markelov after completing an over-under manoeuvre on Nirei Fukuzumi in the final corner, while Ferrucci kept ahead of Nicholas Latifi to claim tenth.
The final classification of the 2018 Red Bull Ring Feature Race is displayed below:
|2018 Red Bull Ring Feature Race Race Result|
|Pos.||No.||Name||Team||Laps||Race Time||Fastest lap||Pts.|
|1st||8||George Russell||ART Grand Prix||40||0:56:16.865||1:18.078||29|
|3rd||21||Antonio Fuoco||Charouz Racing System||40||+9.633s||1:18.069||15|
|4th||9||Roberto Merhi||MP Motorsport||40||+11.796s||1:18.184||12|
|6th||18||Sérgio Sette Câmara||Carlin||40||+16.900s||1:18.722||8|
|7th||2||Tadasuke Makino||Russian Time||40||+18.834s||1:18.301||6|
|8th||1||Artem Markelov||Russian Time||40||+24.690s||1:17.062||6|
|9th||12||Nirei Fukuzumi||BWT Arden||40||+25.528s||1:18.835||2|
|12th||14||Luca Ghiotto||Campos Vexatec Racing||40||+29.485s||1:18.910|
|13th||3||Sean Gelael||Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||40||+37.135s||1:18.257|
|15th*||11||Maximilian Günther||BWT Arden||40||+49.153s||1:18.716|
|Ret||20||Louis Delétraz||Charouz Racing System||32||Retired||1:18.679|
|Ret||7||Jack Aitken||ART Grand Prix||19||Retired||1:18.858|
|Ret||4||Nyck de Vries||Pertamina Perma Theodore Racing||7||Retired||1:19.531|
|Ret||10||Ralph Boschung||MP Motorsport||4||Engine||1:18.890|
|Ret||15||Roy Nissany||Campos Vexatec Racing||3||Retired||1:19.313|
- Bold indicates a driver started from pole.
- Italics indicate that a driver set fastest lap.
- * Günther was handed a twenty second time penalty after the race for an unsafe release.
- Tenth race for Jack Aitken.
- George Russell recorded his second pole position.
- Russell claimed his fourth career victory in Formula Two.
- ART Grand Prix claimed their seventh triumph in F2 as an entrant.
- ART also recorded their 55th win at GP2/F2 level.
Lando Norris had seen his Championship lead cut apart during the Feature Race at the Red Bull Ring, for George Russell had claimed pole and victory to move within two points of the McLaren man's lead. Indeed, with more than half the season still to run it seemed as if it would be an all English duel for the title, for Alexander Albon was almost 40 points behind in third, just ahead of a tight group led by Artem Markelov. Behind the Russian racer sat Sérgio Sette Câmara, Nyck de Vries and Antonio Fuoco, with just three points covering the quartet.
Carlin continued to lead the way in the Teams' Championship, although ART Grand Prix had carved a slight chunk out of their advantage after the Feature Race. Indeed, Carlin had ended the day just two points shy of the 200 point mark, while ART had moved to 169, leaving them some 29 points back. Those two looked set to fight out amongst themselves, for Charouz Racing System headed the chasing pack on 118, some 51 points off ART's tally.
Only point scoring drivers and teams are shown.
Images and Videos:
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 'FIA Formula 2 Championship 2018 Season Calendar Unveiled', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula 2, 06/11/2017), http://www.fiaformula2.com/News-Room/News/2017/11_November/FIA-Formula-2-Championship-2018-season-calendar-unveiled/, (Accessed 13/06/2018)
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Jonathan Noble, 'Third DRS zone added for Austrian GP', motorsport.com, (Motorsport Network, 25/06/2018), https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/third-drs-zone-added-for-austrian-gp-1047511/, (Accessed 26/06/2018)
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 'RUSSELL CLINCHES POLE IN SPIELBERG QUALIFYING', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula Two, 29/06/2018), http://www.fiaformula2.com/News-Room/News/2018/06_June/Russell-clinches-pole-in-Spielberg-qualifying/, (Accessed 29/06/2018)
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 'F2 STARTS TO BE GIVEN UNDER SAFETY CAR', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula Two, 29/06/2018), http://www.fiaformula2.com/News-Room/News/2018/06_June/F2-starts-to-be-given-under-Safety-car/, (Accessed 01/07/2018)
- ↑ 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 5.16 'RUSSELL PREVAILS IN DRAMATIC SPIELBERG FEATURE RACE', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula Two, 30/06/2018), http://www.fiaformula2.com/News-Room/News/2018/06_June/Russell-prevails-in-dramatic-Spielberg-Feature-Race/, (Accessed 01/07/2018)
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Jack Benyon, 'F2 working "day and night" to solve car issues', motorsport.com, (Motorsport Network, 28/06/2018), https://www.motorsport.com/fia-f2/news/f2-new-car-working-day-and-night-1053000/, (Accessed 29/06/2018)
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 '2018 ROUND 6 PREVIEW: SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula Two, 28/06/2018), http://www.fiaformula2.com/News-Room/News/2018/06_June/2018-Round-6-preview-Spielberg-Austria/, (Accessed 29/06/2018)
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Jack Benyon, 'Maini gets replacement engine at Red Bull Ring', motorsport.com, (Motorsport Network, 29/06/2018), https://www.motorsport.com/fia-f2/news/maini-replacement-engine-red-bull-ring-1053359/, (Accessed 29/06/2018)
- ↑ 'Teams and Drivers', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula 2, 2018), http://www.webcitation.org/6ySMzYNSv, (Accessed 14/06/2018)
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 'Formula 2 2018 Results: Red Bull Ring', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula 2, 2018), http://www.fiaformula2.com/Results/?raceid=988&seasonid=175, (Accessed 29/06/2018)
- ↑ 11.00 11.01 11.02 11.03 11.04 11.05 11.06 11.07 11.08 11.09 11.10 11.11 11.12 11.13 11.14 11.15 11.16 11.17 11.18 11.19 11.20 11.21 11.22 11.23 11.24 11.25 11.26 11.27 11.28 11.29 11.30 11.31 11.32 11.33 11.34 11.35 'F2 Race 1: Austrian GP', skysports.com, (Sky plc., 2018), http://www.skysports.com/watch/video/11422087/f2-race-1-austrian-gp, (Accessed 11/07/2018)
- ↑ 'MAXIMILIAN GÜNTHER PENALISED', fiaformula2.com, (FIA Formula Two, 30/06/2018), http://www.fiaformula2.com/News-Room/News/2018/06_June/Maximilian-Gunther-penalised/, (Accessed 30/06/2018)