George Russell closes in on FIA Formula Two championship
PUBLISHED: 10:41 03 October 2018
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Prior to the Formula One summer recess George Russell had hopes of securing a Grand Prix seat for next year but as the opportunities have faded the Norfolk racer has got back to the business of winning the FIA Formula Two Championship.
The penultimate round was supporting the Russian Grand Prix at Sochi with the local racer extending his lead to 38 points, with just 48 points on offer at the final round, after claiming his sixth victory of the season having placed fourth in the opening encounter.
“I feel we’re in a good position but anything can happen,” said the AMG Mercedes Formula One reserve driver. “We’ve still got to go to Abu Dhabi with the same mindset, but we’re in a great position.”
The weekend had started strongly for Russell who looked on course to claim pole position having been fastest during the first qualifying run.
“I made quite a big mistake in the second corner in my final run, and I tried to compensate in sectors one and two, and I was overpushing,” admitted the ART Grand Prix racer.
In the opening laps of race one Russell was running in third place having dislodged title rival Lando Norris, who has a McLaren Formula One contract in his pocket for next year, and like the rest of the front runners pitted early for his tyre change.
When all of the pit stops had finished Russell found himself in fourth place while rival Norris had to retire when he was released from his pit box with only three wheels attached.
The race was won by Alex Albon, who consequently moved ahead of Norris to become Russell’s nearest challenger, as the local racer finished in fourth place.
Early incidents in race two helped to elevate Russell into the podium places, after starting from fifth place, and he took control of the race on the fifth tour after dislodging Nirei Fukuzumi.
It then began to rain and the decision to change to wet tyres was helped by a virtual safety car interlude with most or the drivers electing to take on grooved tyres.
Thereafter Russell managed his tyres and the conditions to win for the sixth time this season.
“I’m extremely pleased to get the win, really proud of my team after a difficult day yesterday,” said Russell.
“We worked late last night to try and understand our issues and how to improve it. We really did that, and the pace in the dry was incredible.”