Lando Norris takes dominant maiden F2 win in Bahrain

Lando Norris took a dominant win for Carlin at the opening round of the 2018 Formula 2 Championship in Bahrain.

Norris beat Mercedes-backed George Russell to pole position in qualifying and had a strong start from the pole slot, leading into Turn 1 while second-placed starter Russell suffered from a slow getaway, dropping down to fifth.

A strong start for Norris became an early lead, and the McLaren protege was unchallenged in the opening stint of the race, pitting for fresh rubber on lap 18 to rejoin in the net lead in third ahead of Russell and Carlin teammate Sergio Sette Camara.

Norris was unchallenged for the remainder of the race, despite suffering from intermittent engine issues on his V6-turbo Dallara-built F2 2018 car, crossing the finishing line on lap 31 to claim his maiden Formula 2 win.

Sette Camara was Norris' nearest challenger and finished in second place, completing a 1-2 finish for Carlin while Russian Time's Artem Markelov put in a driving masterclass at the Bahrain International Circuit, going from the pit lane to the podium after causing the race start to be aborted by stalling on the formation of the grid, relegating him to the back of the field.

Alexander Albon finished in fourth place for DAMS, beating reigning GP3 champion Russell who finished in fifth for ART Grand Prix after suffering from high tyre wear in his second stint of the race,

Nyck de Vries finished in sixth place for Prema after looking like a podium contender in the early stages of the race and was followed by teammate Sean Gelael who finished in seventh.

An eighth place finish for rookie Maximilian Gunther hands the German racer reverse grid pole position for Sunday's Bahrain Sprint Race.

Renault junior Jack Aitken finished in ninth in the second ART Grand Prix entry in his Formula 2 debut while Ralph Boschung completed the top ten for MP Motorsport.