F2 Monaco: Fuoco resists Norris to win attritional second race
|By Jack Benyon||Saturday, May 26th 2018, 16:43 GMT|
Antonio Fuoco gave the Ferrari-affiliated Charouz Racing System team its first Formula 2 win after a lights-to-flag victory in the Monaco sprint race.
The race featured several high-profile incidents, with multiple periods under the safety car.
McLaren 2018 Formula 1 reserve driver Lando Norris extended his championship lead with second place, while Mercedes junior George Russell crashed out for the second race in a row.
The early running was truncated by a virtual safety car, after a spate of incidents at the start.
Luca Ghiotto hit the stalled Russian Time machine of Tadasuke Makino, while Nyck de Vries also failed to get off the line.
Norris, who started third and jumped Jack Aitken on the run to Turn 1 - was much more committed in the early stages than polesitter Fuoco in the Swimming Pool section and was on the back of the Ferrari F1 junior for the early running.
But Norris backed off to around two seconds behind Fuoco on lap 15 of 30 in a bid to save his tyres and close back in during the later stages.
A VSC for Russell's crash at the exit of the Swimming Pool section - the ART driver made a mistake on the curb that sent his car into the outside wall - on lap 20 then caught out Norris.
This was because the green flag came out just a lap later while Fuoco accelerated rounding Portier and thus had a full-speed run down the straight, whereas Norris still had to navigate the corner.
Fuoco enjoyed some breathing space, but a late safety car added to the drama after a crash between Alexander Albon and Roy Nissany on the run to the Nouvelle Chicane.
But Fuoco survived to win by 1.1s and make it a 1-3 for F2 newcomer Charouz, as Louis Deletraz executed a spectacular race to hold onto the final spot on podium over charging feature race winner Artem Markelov.
After an adventurous move on Arjun Maini on lap 17, Markelov, who had rocketed up the order from eighth on the grid with a rapid start, took fourth and set about pulling in Deletraz, by that stage struggling to change gear with no information displaying on his steering wheel.
Markelov tortured the ailing Deletraz by attempting a move at almost every corner on the track for over 10 laps.
The Russian Time driver threatened to undo his brilliant work with an ill-conceived and poorly executed move at the final turn, hitting Deletraz, and after that he was less bullish.
But fourth place, and his feature win, still means Markelov enters the battle for the championship as he is up to joint second place in the standings.
Roberto Merhi realised his pre-race expectation of a top five, ahead of Maini.
Friday's second-place finisher Sean Gelael also failed to finish as he hit the wall at the exit of the first chicane at the Swimming Pool on lap five.
His car was launched into the air after he ran wide and hit the kerb at the corner entry and he ploughed into the wall at high speed, and was sent to the medical centre.
Aitken was an early retiree after a throttle pedal problem, which meant that out of the top five drivers in the championship only Markelov and Norris finished.
Albon - now level with Markelov on points - was far quicker than Nissany during their battle towards the end of the race, but the DAMS driver misjudged his speed and smashed into the back of the Campos Racing-run car at the exit of the tunnel as they approached the chicane.
Results - 30 laps
|1||Antonio Fuoco||Charouz Racing System||30||48m45.173s|
|2||Louis Deletraz||Charouz Racing System||30||1.269s|
|4||Artem Markelov||RUSSIAN TIME||30||3.291s|
|6||Maximilian Gunther||BWT Arden||30||7.155s|
|7||Roberto Merhi||MP Motorsport||30||10.299s|
|9||Nyck de Vries||Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||29||1 Lap|
|10||Luca Ghiotto||Campos Vexatec Racing||29||1 Lap|
|11||Nirei Fukuzumi||BWT Arden||27||3 Laps|
|12||Santino Ferrucci||Trident||27||3 Laps|
|-||Roy Nissany||Campos Vexatec Racing||25||Retirement|
|-||Ralph Boschung||MP Motorsport||20||Retirement|
|-||George Russell||ART Grand Prix||18||Retirement|
|-||Sean Gelael||Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||3||Retirement|
|-||Tadasuke Makino||RUSSIAN TIME||2||Retirement|
|-||Jack Aitken||ART Grand Prix||1||Retirement|
|6||Nyck de Vries||46|
|7||Sergio Sette Camara||46|