Markelov cruises to win as Leclerc retires
9 July 2017 – Russian Time's Artem Markelov controlled the Formula 2 Sprint Race in Austria for his second win of the campaign, while title leader Charles Leclerc retired.
Pole-sitter Markelov breezed clear at the start and quickly put a gap back to ART rival Alexander Albon, with DAMS' Oliver Rowland third.
Leclerc, meanwhile, had to swerve to avoid front-row starter Ralph Boschung off the line, after the Campos driver stalled.
Leclerc lost a handful of positions but held sixth place behind the Safety Car, which was deployed when Boschung was ultimately struck by Raffaele Marciello.
Leclerc swept past Jordan King at the restart and closely followed the duelling Rowland and Antonio Fuoco, as the trio raced towards Turn 4.
Fuoco drifted slightly wide on the exit and Leclerc misjudged the closing speed, tagging his team-mate; the contact sent Leclerc into a half-spin and he retired from the race.
Rowland was investigated for making more than one change of direction in defending from Fuoco on the run to Turn 4, but was quickly cleared by stewards.
The Virtual Safety Car was implemented to allow Leclerc's car to be recovered, and at the restart Markelov put a gap back to Albon, running around three seconds clear for the remaining laps.
Albon and Rowland lapped at a similar pace throughout to register second and third, while Luca Ghiotto provided much of the action with a sequence of fine moves, as he leapt from 14th to fourth.
Fuoco came home fifth, with King sixth, while Norman Nato rose from the rear of the 20-car grid to seventh, aided by a penalty for Nicholas Latifi.
The DAMS driver had followed King home but a five-second time drop for speeding in the pits during the Safety Car phase – when the drivers were taken through the pit lane – demoted him behind Nato.
1. Charles Leclerc - 151 points
2. Oliver Rowland - 102 points
3. Artem Markelov - 99 points
The next round of the season will take place at Silverstone from July 13-16