• 12th place and DNF for Jake Hughes, 15th and 12th for Artem Markelov 
  • Artem Markelov: "The car felt much better in the two races here."
  • Jake Hughes: "I am very happy with my performance in a car that is unfamiliar to me."
  • Thomas Strick: "Jake totally paid back the faith we have put in him."
Sochi, 27th September 2020 – BWT HWA RACELAB lined up in both races in the FIA Formula 2 Championship at Sochi Autodrom with Jake Hughes (Great Britain) alongside regular driver Artem Markelov (Russia). Jake, who replaced Giuliano Alesi after two wins for HWA RACELAB in this season's FIA Formula 3 Championship, appeared to have no teething problems in what is, to him, a new series. He soon adapted to the race car's extra 240 hp in practice and qualifying. Midway through qualifying, he was actually up in ninth place. Hughes eventually ended the session in 15th place.
In Saturday's race, Jake was initially unfortunate in the opening metres of the 5.848-kilometre circuit: He had to swerve to avoid a collision involving several cars. In doing so, he allowed the cars who started from further down the grid to overtake him. Despite this, the retirement of those involved in the crashes saw Jake maintain his position In 15th. The Brit opted for soft tyres and an early pit stop in the first third of the race. And that strategy paid dividends. Jake came in for his tyre change on lap nine, after which he gathered pace. On lap 15, the 26-year-old completed his first successful overtaking manoeuvre in Formula 2 and climbed from 16th into 15th place. A number of rivals who had gone for harder tyres and a later pit stop were unable to open up a big enough lead and fell back behind Jake after their tyre changes. This put the debutant in 11th place with nine laps of the race remaining - just one position outside the points. On lap 21, he was passed by a rival. However, he continued to drive flawlessly and, given the fact this was the young Brit's debut, serenely through to the finish. After 28 laps of racing, Jake ended his first Formula 2 race in 12th place. 
Sunday's sprint race was over before it really got started for Jake. This time, he braked a little earlier for turn two, but was hit shortly after by another car. His car was so badly damaged that Jake was unable to continue. 
Artem was the beneficiary of the collisions in turn two on Saturday, skilfully passing the stationary cars on the inside. In doing so, he climbed from 20th on the grid into 12th place on the opening lap. The former runner-up in the Formula 2 Championship went for a different tactic to Jake and started on the harder tyre compound. He came into the pits when the tyres started to wear significantly on lap 18. However, the tyre change was not ideal. Artem lost valuable seconds and re-joined the race in 18th place. He did, however, manage to make up a little ground in the closing stages and eventually came home in 15th place. 
Artem made another good start on Sunday, climbing two places into 13th. After a virtual safety car phase, he found his rhythm and gained another position on lap five. Race eight of the race saw a big crash, from which the drivers of the two cars involved fortunately emerged unhurt. However, the crash barriers were very badly damaged. After a long interruption, race control eventually decided to red flag the race. The standings on lap five were then taken as the race result. As such, Artem was classified in twelfth place.
The 2020 FIA Formula 2 Championship will conclude on 28th/29th November and 5th/6th December with a double-header in Sakhir (Bahrain).
Reactions to the race weekend 
Artem Markelov (26, Russia, car number 16), 15th and 12th place
"We did a very good job after qualifying. Our pace and the set-up were impressive in race one. Unfortunately, we made a mistake during the tyre change, which cost us a lot of time. However, these things happen. That is motor racing for you. The start in race two was one of my best this season, and I immediately had good pace. Who knows what might have been possible if the race had resumed after the red flag. However, race control decided otherwise. Regardless of the results, the car felt much better in both races here and I hope we can improve again in Bahrain." 
Jake Hughes (26, Great Britain, car number 17), 12th place and DNF
“After my first race weekend in Formula 2, I am very happy with my performance in a car that is unfamiliar to me. Friday was not easy for me, with a completely different tyre set-up in qualifying compared to practice. As such, 15th place on the grid was absolutely okay, even if I did have the potential to qualify in the top ten. Despite this, the knowledge that we had the pace gave me confidence going into the race. On Saturday, I was unlucky at the start and lost four or five positions. However, with good pace and the right strategy, I was able to regain the places I lost. Without the incident in turn two, when I was involved in a crash, we could even have been looking at some points. Unfortunately, the race on Sunday was over too quickly. I would like to thank the team for giving me this opportunity. I really enjoyed being involved and was hopefully able to help the team take another step forwards."  
Thomas Strick (team principal BWT HWA RACELAB)
“We are very pleased with Jake's strong debut in Formula 2. He totally paid back the faith we have put in him. It is a shame that he was not able to demonstrate his talent again on Sunday. On the whole, we made progress in terms of pace and set-up in Sochi, which sends us into the two-month break with a positive feeling. We will use the break to perform a comprehensive analysis, in order to optimise the processes in the team. We want to come back stronger and finish in the points in Bahrain."    
Result of race one, Saturday 26th September:
1. M. Schumacher PREMA Racing         55:02.871
12. Jake Hughes BWT HWA RACELAB 55:40.406  
15. Artem Markelov  BWT HWA RACELAB 55:54.978                 
Result of race two, Sunday 27th September:
1. G. Zhou UNI-Virtuosi 10:01.184
12. Artem Markelov   BWT HWA RACELAB     10:13.622