A BATTLE OF TYRE STRATEGIES IN FORMULA 2 IN MONACO
Strategy is always key in Monaco and that was certainly true in the Formula 2 feature race, which was won by Artem Markelov for Russian Time after executing his chosen strategy to perfection. The sprint race was won by Antonio Fuoco (Charouz Racing System).
Feature Race, the winner: Markelov ran in third early on behind Alex Albon and Nyck de Vries, with all three having started on the soft tyres. Albon and de Vries later made contact as they went to pit under a mid-race safety car, ultimately ending their races. Markelov remained out, lapping quickly in clean air to build a lead before pitting for the supersoft tyres with only five laps remaining and emerging ahead of his main rivals, who had pitted early in the race.
Artem Markelov: “When I started the race I was trying to sit behind the guys and get a good enough gap to the cars behind while looking after the tyres. When I had a free gap at the front, I was trying to make a gap to the cars behind and make a clear pit-stop to finish P1.”
Feature Race, alternative strategy: Sean Gelael (Prema Racing) came from 12th on the grid to finish in second place, thanks in part to his strategy of starting on the supersoft tyre. He pitted early to change to the soft tyre, and after making a crucial overtake, the safety car allowed him to close up behind the drivers who had yet to pit. Ex-Formula 1 driver Roberto Merhi completed the podium for MP Motorsport with a similar strategy. Lando Norris also started on supersofts from 17th on the grid and finished sixth in the race, increasing his championship lead.
Sprint Race, the winner: Fuoco, part of the Ferrari Driver Academy, led the sprint race from start to finish, where all drivers started on the soft tyre with no mandatory pit-stops. Fuoco handled pressure from Norris through several safety car periods to score a first win for the Charouz Racing System team.
Pirelli’s head of car racing Mario Isola: “Tyre strategy ensured that we had an intriguing feature race, even after the unusual incident that eliminated two main contenders. Markelov used the tyre management skills that he has gained over his time in the championship to win the race, even though the safety car had meant his strategy was not the ideal one to be on. Others meanwhile benefited from gambling on a safety car, which is of course always a common occurrence in Monaco.”