Honda protege Makino 'had no idea' he was about to win Monza F2 race

Russian Time Formula 2 driver and Honda protege Tadasuke Makino says he had "no idea" he was about to win Saturday's Formula 2 feature race at Monza after starting 14th

Honda protege Makino 'had no idea' he was about to win Monza F2 race

Makino started on the medium tyre - unlike the leaders, who started on supersofts - and overtook five cars at the first corner, assuming the lead when early leader, his Russian Time team-mate Artem Markelov, pitted on lap six of 30.

Although Makino's victory appeared to be down to fortunate strategy, he had established a 12.5-second gap over the next car on mediums after the leaders pitted.

"I said to my engineer, don't tell me the position," said Makino. "I wanted to keep focused on the tyres.

"Before the last corner I said 'which position is this' and they said 'P1'.

"I was so surprised, it's crazy. I had no idea.

"I didn't know the position and just focused on the tyres."

Makino pitted with three laps remaining and narrowly held on to beat Markelov, which marked his first top-five finish since joining F2 at the start of 2018.

He is hopeful victory impressed his bosses at Honda, which also backs Arden F2 driver Nirei Fukuzumi.

Honda has made no secret it would like one of its drivers to race at Toro Rosso in the near future.

"It's really important [to impress Honda]," he added.

"Hopefully the guys at Honda are happy, but I need to be like this, more consistent, for the rest of the season.

"If qualifying is better, it's easier going into Turn 1. It's tough to win starting from 14th [every race].

"I need to add race pace to qualifying pace."

Makino's Russian Time engineer Geoff Spear has been impressed with Makino's progress given his experience.

The Japanese driver started car racing in Japanese F4 in 2015, the same year Markelov began his second F2 (then GP2) season, and caught Honda's eye in a one-off Super GT outing at Buriram.

He then competed in European Formula 3, but missed pre-season testing and broke his wrist midway through the season in his first year outside of Japan.

"He surprised us right from the start really," said Spear.

"Each weekend we've been targeting top 10 finishes and he's been averaging 11th in the races and that's good, we're really happy with his progress.

"A lot of the circuits he hasn't done a lot of running at, and he's new to the Pirelli tyres, and it's a very steep learning curve for him.

"But I think he's getting to grips with it. He's improving race on race."

Russian Time chief engineer Gavin Jones added: "He's the greenest rookie out there.

"He had one year of Euro F3 and missed pre-season testing, and broke his wrist. "His lap time on the prime [medium tyre in the Monza feature race] was unbelievable.

"He was in mid-1m36s, and the other guys were only two or three tenths quicker and they had DRS.

"He's won the same number of races as Lando Norris!"

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