Markelov feared being “thrashed” by F2 2018 rookies

Renault Formula 1 development driver Artem Markelov admits he feared a heavy defeat in the battle against Formula 2's highly-rated 2018 rookies ahead of the Bahrain season opener.

Markelov feared being “thrashed” by F2 2018 rookies
Podium: Race winner Artem Markelov, RUSSIAN TIME
Artem Markelov, RUSSIAN TIME
Artem Markelov, RUSSIAN TIME
Press Conference: Artem Markelov, RUSSIAN TIME
Artem Markelov, RUSSIAN TIME
Race winner Artem Markelov, RUSSIAN TIME
George Russell, ART Grand Prix
George Russell, ART Grand Prix
Lando Norris, Carlin

Markelov, runner-up in the series in 2017, has four years of prior GP2/F2 experience under his belt – but all of those have been in the GP2/11 car, which made way for the series' new Dallara F2 2018 machine this year.

The Russian admitted he was worried heading into 2018, and qualifying only 17th in Bahrain would've done little to alleviate his concerns – but he then recovered from a pitlane start to finish third in the opening race, before winning the reverse-grid sprint.

“To be honest, I really feared that – like, here I am, fifth-year driver, already a veteran, should be doing well, and now the rookies will come in and I'll get trounced,” Markelov told Motorsport.com.

“By F2 standards I'm already an old fart, of course, but I gave them all a fight.

“Now there's a lot more confidence than there was prior to the start of the weekend. Before that I was doubting, worrying, that all the new guys will arrive and thrash me.”

Markelov said he didn't have a good feel for the new car heading into Bahrain, before it all finally came together in race trim.

“The car's new, too, and I was struggling to get used to it, plus there were frequent issues.” he said. “The car became heavier, which concerned me, both in testing and in practice prior to the race.

“Because it's like you're steering a boat. The old car was a bit smaller and had about as much power as this one. So it was a bit more manoeuvrable – you fly into a corner, get it turned around and head right out.

“Now it's all very slow and smooth. Like it's in slow motion.

“And I couldn't adapt to this 'boat'. But everything changed in the race – my opinion, my feelings in the car, and my feelings towards the car, too.”

Russell needs "killer instinct"

The front row in qualifying was locked out by rookies Lando Norris and George Russell, reserve drivers for McLaren and Mercedes respectively.

But while Norris dominated the first race from pole and left Bahrain leading nearest rival Markelov by nine points, Russell's weekend unravelled from qualifying onwards – as he finished only fifth in the first race and stalled badly in the sprint.

Asked to comment on the two rookies, Markelov said: “Russell does everything by the book. He does what he was told to do, has no freedom.

“If [on Saturday] he had a bit more of a killer instinct, maybe he wouldn't have finished where he did – he could have been higher up.

“You have to have your own opinion during a race. He was told to conserve tyres, and he drove around conserving them.

“Lando's always been strong in qualifying, in his previous series. He started first and drove away. I don't have any particular insight about him. They [the TV] didn't show him.”

shares
comments
Race starts "like a gamble" with new F2 car

Previous article

Race starts "like a gamble" with new F2 car

Next article

Baku F2: Sette Camara tops hectic practice session

Baku F2: Sette Camara tops hectic practice session
Load comments
How F1 hopeful Pourchaire is re-writing the F2 record books Prime

How F1 hopeful Pourchaire is re-writing the F2 record books

He'd marked himself out as a star of the future in last year's FIA Formula 3 championship, but 17-year-old Theo Pourchaire underlined his credentials by winning his first Formula 2 race in the Monaco feature. Sauber junior status gives him a clear route to the top, but with wisdom beyond his years, he's not getting caught up in his own hype.

FIA F2
Jun 3, 2021
The F1 hopeful living two lives to keep his dream alive Prime

The F1 hopeful living two lives to keep his dream alive

Having lost his backing from Red Bull, Richard Verschoor has had to graft to continue his ascent up the single-seater ladder. An impressive Formula 2 debut in Bahrain, despite the lateness of his deal, shows his unorthodox approach is paying dividends.

FIA F2
Apr 22, 2021
Was Formula 2’s radical format switch a success? Prime

Was Formula 2’s radical format switch a success?

Going into the 2021 Formula 2 season the biggest talking point wasn’t about any drivers or teams, but the new race weekend format. Created partly out of financial necessity but also to spice up the action, the Bahrain opener provided a snapshot of the positives and negatives to come.

FIA F2
Apr 4, 2021
Why 2021 is make-or-break for the driver F1 needs Prime

Why 2021 is make-or-break for the driver F1 needs

He was tipped for glory in FIA Formula 2 last year, but was hampered by reliability woes at inopportune moments. Guanyu Zhou knows he won't get too many more chances if he is to become China's first F1 driver, with fierce competition within the ranks of Alpine's junior stable

FIA F2
Mar 25, 2021
Ranked! Carlin's greatest F1 graduates Prime

Ranked! Carlin's greatest F1 graduates

Carlin has helped guide enough drivers to Formula 1 to fill out an entire grid, plus a handful of reserves, to create a remarkable alumni list. With Yuki Tsunoda set to join that group, Motorsport.com has ranked its graduates to grace the grand prix scene...

Formula 1
Feb 22, 2021
How Mick Schumacher earned his Haas F1 chance Prime

How Mick Schumacher earned his Haas F1 chance

Michael Schumacher may have won seven Formula 1 titles, but he didn't even compete for a crown at the second tier. Son Mick put that right in 2020, and proved to Ferrari that he was deserving of a shot at motorsport's elite category in 2021…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2021
How Aitken’s fortunes turned around for his shock F1 chance Prime

How Aitken’s fortunes turned around for his shock F1 chance

As a consequence of George Russell's step up to Mercedes to cover for the COVID-positive Lewis Hamilton, Jack Aitken will make his Formula 1 debut for Williams at the Sakhir Grand Prix. Long on F1's peripheries, Aitken finally has a chance to shine.

Formula 1
Dec 3, 2020
How F1's foundation has responded to the coronavirus threat Prime

How F1's foundation has responded to the coronavirus threat

While Formula 1 felt the public brunt of the coronavirus pandemic, the virus also put the Formula 2 and Formula 3 categories on hiatus. But their roles in feeding F1 with drivers meant their survival was crucial to their parent series' long-term future

FIA F2
Jun 11, 2020