Artem Markelov beats George Russell with dominant Austrian sprint race win
Russian Time's Artem Markelov cruised to a dominant victory in Formula 2's Sunday Sprint Race at the Red Bull Ring, taking a conservative approach to driving in the 28-lap reverse-grid race.
Markelov, who memorably overtook Santino Ferrucci, Nicholas Latifi, Maximilian Gunther and Nirei Fukuzumi in the last lap of Saturday's Feature Race, started from pole position, courtesy of an eighth-place finish while he was accompanied at the front by team-mate Tadasuke Makino.
When the safety car peeled into the pits and the green flag waved as Formula 2's rolling start procedure continues amid clutch problems, Markelov led from the outset, followed by Makino and Sergio Sette Camara who completed the top three at the end of the first lap.
In the midfield, George Russell was the driver on the move, with Saturday's race winner dispatching of title rival Lando Norris at the start of lap 1 to move into sixth place before clearing Antonio Fuoco, Alexander Albon, Sette Camara and Makino, battling his way up to second place in the running order to become Markelov's biggest threat.
With tyre degradation plaguing a number of drivers at the Red Bull Ring, Russell was unable to challenge Markelov at any point for the lead while the Renault junior out in front managed his tyres perfectly to take the chequered flag in first place to secure a third victory of 2018.
Russell, who started in eighth, finished in second for ART Grand Prix, the Mercedes junior unable to become Formula 2's first double-winner in its modern generation after getting rebranded at the start of 2017. Sette Camara stood on the final step of the podium for Carlin.
Fuoco finished in fourth place for Charouz Racing System, narrowly missing out on what could have been a second consecutive podium finish while he was closely followed by Albon who was fifth for DAMS.
Makino, after starting in second, had a difficult morning in Austria, dropping through the field to finish in sixth place followed by Ferrucci who was seventh for Trident while Latifi completed the points-paying positions in eighth in the second DAMS.
Outside of the top eight, Fukuzumi missed out on points by finishing in ninth as the highest placed Arden while it was a difficult day for McLaren protege Lando Norris who finished in 11th place.
Norris lined up on the gird in seventh after claiming second place in Saturday's Feature Race, claiming sixth at the start of the race after Roberto Merhi started from the pit lane before getting overtaken by Russell. Unlike his championship rival, Norris struggled to make an impact, briefly getting ahead of Albon before dropping down the field like a stone to finish outside of the points.
Norris' no-scoring round in Austria means that the advantage in the 2018 title fight has swung into Russell's favour with the Briton now holding a 10 point lead in the Drivers' Championship before his home race next weekend at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Sunday's Austrian sprint saw two drivers fail to see the chequered flag, with Louis Deletraz and Sean Gelael retiring from the race after making contact in the final few laps in Turn 3, the result of which was steering damage for the Swiss and a puncture for the Indonesian, relegating the pair to 19th and 20th.