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F2 Austria: Markelov wins sprint race ahead of charging Russell

George Russell seized the Formula 2 points lead with an excellent drive through the field at the Red Bull Ring, while Artem Markelov scored an assured sprint race win

ART Grand Prix driver Russell finished second ahead of Carlin's Sergio Sette Camara.

Markelov took care of his tyres brilliantly as he marched to victory, while his Russian Time team-mate Tadasuke Makino - who started second on the grid - fell back as his rubber degraded.

Renault Formula 1 junior Markelov pulled clear to win unchallenged by just under six seconds, his performance following his astounding late rise to pass four cars on the last lap of Saturday's feature race to set-up the sprint event pole.

Mercedes F1 junior Russell was a man possessed in the early stages, and overcame four drivers in as many laps, all at Turn 1.

The race again featured a rolling start to avoid any clutch issues with the new-for-2018 F2 car, and Russell immediately jumped former championship leader Lando Norris for sixth - with Roberto Merhi, who was supposed to line up there, starting from the pitlane - at Turn 1 with an opportunistic move.

In the following laps, Russell dispatched Alexander Albon, Antonio Fuoco and Sette Camara, then set about catching Makino, and usurped him at Turn 2 on lap seven of 28.

After that, Russell managed his tyres and could not close in on Markelov for the rest of the race.

Sette Camara came home a distant third, while his team-mate Norris had a tough time in the pack behind.

After being jumped by Russell, Norris was stuck behind Albon for most of the race, but in the closing stages his tyre degradation was so high that he dropped outside of the top 10.

Fuoco took fourth ahead of Albon, while Makino fell to sixth with his tyre problems.

Santino Ferrucci and Nicholas Latifi both pulled off late moves on Norris to take seventh and eighth, coming home ahead of Nirei Fukuzumi and Arjun Maini, who benefitted from a new engine being installed on his car after practice on Friday.

Norris eventually finished 11th, while the retirees from the feature race fared badly.

Prema Racing's Nyck de Vries managed 14th at the flag from 18th on the grid, while Jack Aitken (ART) appeared to have a problem and finished last on the road.

It is understood that a piece of rubber hitting an extinguisher pull cord cut off Aitken's car in the feature race.

Results - 28 laps

Pos Driver Team Gap Laps
1 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 36m41.950s 28
2 George Russell ART Grand Prix 5.601s 28
3 Sergio Sette Camara Carlin 8.543s 28
4 Antonio Fuoco Charouz Racing System 17.189s 28
5 Alexander Albon DAMS 17.925s 28
6 Tadasuke Makino RUSSIAN TIME 22.580s 28
7 Santino Ferrucci Trident 24.588s 28
8 Nicholas Latifi DAMS 27.286s 28
9 Nirei Fukuzumi BWT Arden 28.046s 28
10 Arjun Maini Trident 28.665s 28
11 Lando Norris Carlin 30.190s 28
12 Maximilian Guenther BWT Arden 30.800s 28
13 Luca Ghiotto Campos Vexatec Racing 32.189s 28
14 Nyck de Vries Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing 32.953s 28
15 Ralph Boschung MP Motorsport 36.952s 28
16 Roberto Merhi MP Motorsport 38.895s 28
17 Roy Nissany Campos Vexatec Racing 44.100s 28
18 Jack Aitken ART Grand Prix 44.249s 28
- Louis Deletraz Charouz Racing System Retirement 23
- Sean Gelael Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing Retirement 22

Drivers' championship

Pos Driver Points
1 George Russell 132
2 Lando Norris 122
3 Artem Markelov 94
4 Alexander Albon 89
5 Sergio Sette Camara 86
6 Antonio Fuoco 82
7 Nyck de Vries 75
8 Jack Aitken 49
9 Luca Ghiotto 47
10 Louis Deletraz 44
11 Roberto Merhi 35
12 Nicholas Latifi 34
13 Sean Gelael 29
14 Arjun Maini 23
15 Maximilian Guenther 20
16 Tadasuke Makino 18
17 Ralph Boschung 10
18 Santino Ferrucci 7
19 Nirei Fukuzumi 6
20 Roy Nissany 0

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