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Bahrain F2: Artem Markelov wins race two in Bahrain

Artem Markelov pulled off a composed drive to win the first Formula 2 sprint race of the season, as Prema Racing's strategy gamble failed to pay off

Prema attempted to repeat its successful tactic from last year's race, pitting race leader Nyck de Vries early on in an attempt to avoid suffering heavy tyre degradation.

De Vries took the lead from the start, passing reverse grid pole-sitter Maximilian Gunther, while Sean Gelael - de Vries' Prema team-mate - stalled on the grid for the formation lap from second.

De Vries controlled the early running but pitted on lap nine of 23, handing the lead to the Russian Time car of Markelov, who maintained a gap of around two seconds over the field at a track where he has become a master of tyre management.

Gunther had a rollercoaster race; at one-point he locked up twice in one lap, after he appeared to be struggling with the tyres.

It looked like a foregone conclusion he would surrender second place to a pair of preying Carlin drivers, but a couple of composed laps allowed him to pull away to secure the position on his debut weekend in F2.

Sergio Sette Camara and Saturday's feature race winner Lando Norris battled hard in the last five laps, a robust defence from Camara at Turn 4 denying Norris.

Norris suffered a misfire in the race, which cost him a place in the early running and happened at the worst possible place, exiting the final corner.

De Vries recovered to fifth, failing to repeat the victory his team pulled with Charles Leclerc last year with the same strategy.

Luca Ghiotto started 12th, but made up ground at the start, he worked his way forward and took sixth after deciding not to make a pitstop.

Ralph Boschung came off the worst in a battle with Antonio Fuoco's Charouz Racing System car in a brilliant early battle, but when the latter pitted, MP Motorsport man Boschung sat in sixth. After being passed by the recovering de Vries, he finished seventh.

Nirei Fukuzumi started 18th for Arden, but showed similarly impressive pace to his team-mate Gunther as he took eighth, ahead of the second-highest pitstop finisher, Louis Deletraz.

Nicholas Latifi recovered from a pre-race stall to round out the top 10, while team-mate Alexander Albon's fifth-place start yielded 13th after a poor getaway.

It was a nightmare race for ART, as reigning GP3 champion George Russell and team-mate Jack Aitken both stalled on the grid.

Russell's pace was similar to the leaders but the damage was done and he was at the back of the field, finishing a lap down in 19th, one spot behind Aitken.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Laps Gap
1 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 23 42m42.161s
2 Maximilian Guenther BWT Arden 23 2.105s
3 Sergio Sette Camara Carlin 23 3.803s
4 Lando Norris Carlin 23 5.043s
5 Nyck de Vries Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing 23 10.265s
6 Luca Ghiotto Campos Vexatec Racing 23 15.696s
7 Ralph Boschung MP Motorsport 23 23.511s
8 Nirei Fukuzumi BWT Arden 23 24.582s
9 Louis Deletraz Charouz Racing System 23 25.194s
10 Nicholas Latifi DAMS 23 25.687s
11 Roberto Merhi MP Motorsport 23 25.804s
12 Antonio Fuoco Charouz Racing System 23 26.638s
13 Alexander Albon DAMS 23 31.759s
14 Arjun Maini Trident 23 36.793s
15 Roy Nissany Campos Vexatec Racing 23 43.989s
16 Sean Gelael Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing 23 57.845s
17 Tadasuke Makino RUSSIAN TIME 23 1m03.819s
18 Jack Aitken ART Grand Prix 23 1m39.757s
19 George Russell ART Grand Prix 22 1 Lap
20 Santino Ferrucci Trident 22 1 Lap


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