Markelov enjoyed 'confidence-building' maiden F1 run

© XPB 

Russian F2 racer Artem Markelov had his baptism of fire in an F1 car this week in Hungary, and it was a confidence-building experience for the 23-year-old Renault junior.

Markelov, a multiple race winner in the FIA Formula 2 Championship with the Russian Time squad, took over from Renault's Nico Hulkenberg on Wednesday to conduct development work on the French team's R.S.18 car during F1's last in-season test of the season.

As he got acquainted with the characteristics of a modern-spec F1 car, Markelov improved both his knowledge and his pace with each outing.

"It was a really good experience to drive the Renault R.S.18 for the first time and I want to say a big thanks to the team for the opportunity," said Markelov.

"We started on balance settings to get up to speed, and then various tyre assessments including the fast Hypersofts in the afternoon session.

"The downforce and the braking was different to what I’m used to, but I enjoyed it and it was very interesting to experience that for the first time.

"I started to build the confidence up as the day progressed, so I expect to get quicker and quicker each time I get an opportunity in the car."

Renault sporting director Alan Permane positively assessed Markelov's day behind the wheel and the Russian driver's contribution to the team's development programme.

"Artem delivered exactly what was required of him today and gave a good account of himself behind the wheel of the R.S.18," said Permane.

"It was a solid day working through an extensive technical programme which leaves us with a large amount of data to help refine our set-up and development programme.

"Artem’s level of feedback was strong for his first time in the car."

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