George Russell has extended his lead in the Formula 2 Drivers’ Championship standings after claiming his fifth win of the season in Sunday’s Sprint race at Monza.

The Mercedes junior driver took advantage of a rare error by race leader Artem Markelov, passing the Russian and going on to claim victory. Sergio Sette Câmara completed the podium.

The reversed-grid front row of pole-sitter Ralph Boschung and Sette Câmara both made poor getaways at the start of the race. Nicholas Latifi and Russell, starting the race from fourth and fifth respectively, both capitalised and jumped into first and second positions on the run to the Rettifilo chicane.

Russell hounded the rear of Latifi’s DAMS over the opening laps and used DRS to eventually overtake the Canadian down the start/finish straight on Lap 5, only to then lose it under braking at the chicane. His error allowed Latifi to reclaim the lead while Russell, who had to slowly slalom his way through the styrofoam bollards in to run-off before rejoining, dropped to third behind Markelov.

The Russian was on one of his customary hard-charging drives, having already gained four places at the start of the race. He was soon past Latifi, with Russell swiftly following suit but unable to remain within DRS striking distance. His unforced error gifted the lead to Russell, who went on to claim victory and extend his points advantage over Carlin’s Lando Norris – who could only finish fifth thanks to a poor start that saw him fall from third to ninth – to 22 points.

Sette Câmara also managed to overtake Latifi to move into third and pressured Markelov over the final laps. The Brazilian attempted to pass Markelov on the final lap into the Rettifilo, but overshot the corner and narrowly avoided cannoning into the back of the Russian Time car.

With Norris finishing a frustrated fifth, the remaining points positions were claimed by Luca Ghiotto (Campos Racing), Dorian Boccolacci (MP Motorsport) and Jack Aitken (ART Grand Prix).

The race was a disaster for reversed grid pole-sitter Boschung, who found himself mired in the midfield thanks to his poor start. On Lap 4, the Swiss driver appeared to move across Sean Galeal’s path as the pair raced side-by-side towards the Roggia chicane. The pair touched and suffered terminal damage, much to the fury of Galeal over an expletive-ridden pit-to-car radio rant.

Saturday’s Feature Race winner Tadasuke Makino was unable to repeat the demonstration of his tyre management skills. The approach to the Rettifilo chicane also caught out the Japanese driver, who was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop after suffering a massive lock-up.

Championship outsiders Alexander Albon and Nyck de Vries both had poor races. The former looked on course for possible back-to-back podiums but had to retire late in the race with a gear selection issue, while de Vries – who had to start from the pit lane – copped a puncture after contact with Roy Nissany while trying to battle his way into the top-ten.

The next round of the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship takes place on September 29-30 at the Sochi Autodrom in support of the Russian Grand Prix.

2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship Race of Italy– Sprint Race Results (21 laps)
Driver Team / Entry Laps Result Pts
1. George Russell uk ART Grand Prix 21 33:31.886 15
2. Artem Markelov Russian Time 21 + 1.056 12
3. Sergio Sette Câmara Carlin Motorsport 21 + 4.347 12
4. Nicholas Latifi DAMS 21 + 5.651 8
5. Lando Norris uk Carlin Motorsport 21 + 6.174 6
6. Luca Ghiotto it Campos Vexatec Racing 21 + 17.452 4
7. Dorian Boccolacci es MP Motorsport 21 + 20.751 2
8. Jack Aitken uk ART Grand Prix 21 + 24.216 1
9. Arjun Maini in Trident Racing 21 + 25.188
10. Antonio Fuoco Charouz Racing System 21 + 28.453
11. Louis Delétraz Charouz Racing System 21 + 31.875
12. Alessio Lorandi Trident Racing 21 + 34.792
13. Nirei Fukuzumi BWT Arden International 21 + 38.323
14. Tadasuke Makino Russian Time 21 + 1:04.379
15. Roy Nissany Campos Vexatec Racing 21 + 1:17.780
16. Maximilian Günther de BWT Arden International 21 + 1:18.848
17. Nyck de Vries Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing 20 1 lap behind
Not Classified Team / Entry Laps Result
DNF. Alexander Albon DAMS 16 Gearbox
DNF. Ralph Boschung ch MP Motorsport 4 Collision
DNF. Sean Gelael Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing 3 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.
  • Sergio Sette Câmara is awarded an additional 2 championship points for posting the fastest lap of the race by a points’ finisher.

Post-Race Penalties:

  • None

Image via FIA Formula 2 Championship

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Geoff Burke

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