Carlin claimed the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Teams’ Championship this evening, under the flood lights of the Yas Marina circuit, following a strong season by Lando Norris and Sergio Sette Camara. Despite a mixed Feature Race for the team in which Sette Camara stalled on the grid, Norris’ fifth place was enough to seal the Teams’ title with one race remaining in Abu Dhabi.
With Norris starting seventh and Sette Camara tenth, the drama started from the outset, with three cars stalling on the grid including Sette Camara. Arjun Maini hit the stalled car of Nicholas Latifi, leaving shards of carbon all over the grid and immediately bringing out the safety car. With all drivers thankfully fine, the marshals set about clearing the track, with the field filing through the pit lane behind the safety car.
Norris had managed to swerve to avoid Latifi and was running in fifth, while Sette Camara had been pushed into the pit lane and was able to restart and join the back of the field. As the safety car pulled in, Norris managed his restart well to hold fifth, while Sette Camara was 17th.
Norris set about putting Louis Deletraz under pressure for fourth place before making his mandatory pit stop on lap 10 and successfully re-joining the track after a quick turn around by the Carlin team. Making the most of his new tyres, Norris found himself in a three-way fight with Deletraz and Alexander Albon, taking fifth with a fantastic move around the outside.
Making up another position in fourth, Norris had a fast charging Markelov in his mirrors and after defending hard, the Russian Time driver moved up to take the place. Holding his pace, Norris never came under pressure again and claimed fifth at the chequered flag and 10 valuable points. Sette Camara meanwhile made the most of his race to gather information on the car, compromised as he was by being at the back of the grid . The newly confirmed McLaren test and reserve driver came home 16th.
Speaking about his fifth place, Norris said, “The start was good and I managed to avoid Latifi ahead and the pace was good in the opening stages. After the safety car the car still felt strong. The boys did a great job in the pit stop but after a few laps on the second set I started to struggle with the fronts. It was a bit of a fight, I couldn’t push as hard as I wanted; I let Markelov through in the end as he was forcing me to push too hard on the fronts and I knew it would have hurt me even more, so I think I made a smart decision to let him go and hold fifth. I managed to preserve the pace from then on, which gives us some confidence for tomorrow that we can make the changes we need to the car.
“It’s great in my final race weekend with Carlin to take the Teams’ title together. Obviously the Drivers’ title was the aim, but we won the Driver and Teams’ championship together in F4, the Drivers’ title in F3 and so to take the Teams’ title in F2 in Carlin’s first season back shows our consistency. It’s a nice way to end the season.”
Carlin now lead the Teams’ standings by 31 points. With a maximum of 29 points available in tomorrow’s Sprint race the British squad can’t be caught by second placed team ART.
The final race of the season will take place tomorrow at 13.35 local time tomorrow.