Floods and rain fail to put brakes on George Russell at Monza
PUBLISHED: 10:38 06 September 2017 | UPDATED: 11:10 06 September 2017
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Intense rain and flooding of the Autodromo Nazionale Monza not only played havoc with the Italian Grand Prix qualifying but also impinged on the support programme with the GP3 qualifying and first race cancelled.
“It’s been an eventful weekend, or an uneventful one, I’m not really sure which words to use,” said George Russell after taking victory in Sunday’s race.
The grid places for the race were decided on practice times, which left the Norfolk racer lining up on the front row alongside pole man, and ART Grand Prix team-mate, Nirei Fukuzumi. However, an electrical problem struck Fukuzumi as he went to take up his grid slot, leaving Russell all alone on the front row.
The Mercedes AMG Formula 1 Junior racer made a strong start to lead the race, which was quickly nullified behind the safety car after two cars crashed heavily into the safety barriers.
Once racing resumed Russell found himself displaced from the lead by Anthoine Hubert, who he quickly repassed before a second incident caused the VSC (Virtual Safety Car) boards to appear and the field to circulate at a reduced speed.
Once racing resumed Russell was passed once more, this time by title rival Jack Aitken, but he responded and reclaimed the lead which led to victory.
“I’m extremely happy to get the win today, although I’m feeling very sorry for Nirei as it’s extremely unfortunate what happened to him,” said Russell, who left Italy with a 43-point advantage over Aitken. “I’m really happy to get the win here, and to go to Jerez with a good gap in the championship to try to seal the deal there.”
Kenninghall-based Australian Thomas Randle found the competition tough in the latest races in the Formula Renault Eurocup Championship and, having never seen the French Paul Ricard Circuit, was pleased to qualify in 12th and 11th places on the 32-car grid.
In the opening encounter Randle ended up ninth while in race two he finished 11th, but with post-race penalties and a non-scoring invitee he received points for eighth and ninth places.
“We knew this was going to be the hardest round for us,” said Randle who now heads to Spa Francorchamps in Belgium.