Alexander Albon put in an outstanding drive to claim victory in the Formula 2 Sprint Race at the Hungaroring, successfully hunting down overtaking long-time leader Luca Ghiotto in the final laps.

Ghiotto vaulted into the lead from the second row of the grid at the start, passing pole-sitter Artem Markelov and Sergio Sette Câmara around the outside and moving into an early lead.

Albon, who also started from the second row, did likewise and moved into second place.

Luca Ghiotto, Campos Racing - 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship Race of Hungary

Fast starts from the second row of the grid allowed Luca Ghiotto and Alexander Albon to run first and second.

The race was almost immediately neutralised by a Virtual Safety Car thanks to a three-car accident between Ralph Boschung, Roy Nissany and series newcomer Alessio Lorandi. Boschung and Lorandi were out of the race.

The restart of the race saw the mercurial Antonio Fuoco hit the back of Sette Câmara’s Carlin, which resulted in the Italian damaging the front wing of his Charouz Racing System entry and forced into the pits. Compounding his misery, Fuoco was hit with a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane.

Sette Câmara was able to get by Markelov and into third place, and while briefly threatened by Albon, Ghiotto was able to break free of the threat of DRS with a succession of fastest laps to build a three-second lead.

At the midpoint of the race, the major focus was a tense battle for fifth place led by yesterday’s Feature Race winner Nyck de Vries, who was being hounded by Lando Norris and Roberto Merhi. The trio was catching fourth-placed Markelov, who was uncharacteristically struggling to manage his tyre wear.

By Lap 20 the Russian had been caught, with de Vries launching an attack at Turn 1. Markelov defended, forcing he and de Vries wide and opening the door for an enterprising Norris to nip ahead of the two of them in a single deft move. Merhi got ahead of de Vries a few corners later and set up himself up to pass Markelov.

The baking track conditions were placing a toll on tyre wear and Ghiotto was starting to feel the pain. His lead was steadily reduced by Albon and on Lap 25 the Anglo-Thai driver attacked the Campos Racing driver, passing him around the outside at Turn 1.

From there on, Albon was untouchable as his rivals’ tyres fell away, stoking his DAMS to a lead of almost 10 seconds over Ghiotto by the chequered flag. The final podium position went to Sette Câmara, who finished ahead of Carlin Racing teammate Lando Norris.

Merhi finished a fine fifth ahead of Nirei Fukuzumi and de Vries, with the pair crossing the line just one-thousandth of a second apart in a photo finish sprint to the finish line.

The final point went to championship leader George Russell, who charged from the back of the grid but still saw his championship lead over Norris cut to 12 points.

Mirroring the Formula 1 championship, the F2 runners now take a summer break and will regroup at Spa-Francorchamps on 24-26 August.

2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship Race of Hungary – Sprint Race Results (28 laps)
Driver Team / Entry Laps Result Pts
1. Alexander Albon DAMS 28 44:47.130 15
2. Luca Ghiotto it Campos Vexatec Racing 28 + 9.465 14
3. Sergio Sette Câmara Carlin Motorsport 28 + 11.371 10
4. Lando Norris uk Carlin Motorsport 28 + 13.638 8
5. Roberto Merhi es MP Motorsport 28 + 28.210 6
6. Nirei Fukuzumi BWT Arden International 28 + 34.144 4
7. Nyck de Vries Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing 28 + 34.145 2
8. George Russell uk ART Grand Prix 28 + 36.586 1
9. Louis Delétraz Charouz Racing System 28 + 37.140
10. Jack Aitken uk ART Grand Prix 28 + 38.976
11. Sean Gelael Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing 28 + 40.963
12. Tadasuke Makino Russian Time 28 + 41.535
13. Artem Markelov Russian Time 28 + 52.230
14. Arjun Maini in Trident Racing 28 + 52.379
15. Roy Nissany Campos Vexatec Racing 28 + 1:00.932
16. Nicholas Latifi DAMS 28 + 1:17.184
17. Antonio Fuoco Charouz Racing System 27 1 lap behind
Not Classified Team / Entry Laps Result
DNF. Maximilian Günther de BWT Arden International 17 37:09.802
DNF. Ralph Boschung ch MP Motorsport 0 Collision
DNF. Alessio Lorandi Trident Racing 0 Collision

Championship Points:

  • Points are awarded to the top 8 classified finishers in the Sprint Race on a 15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 scale.
  • Luca Ghiotto is awarded an additional 2 championship points for posting the fastest lap of the race by a points’ finisher.

Post-Race Penalties:

  • Antonio Fuoco – who was provisionally classified 17th – was issued a 3-place grid penalty for the upcoming Belgium Feature Race for failing to serve the 5-second time penalty at his second pit stop which was incurred for speeding in the pit lane during his first pit stop.

Image via FIA Formula 2 Championship

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Geoff Burke

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