George Russell extends lead over McLaren man of the moment Lando Norris
PUBLISHED: 11:11 05 September 2018 | UPDATED: 11:11 05 September 2018
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George Russell has 22 precious points more than FIA Formula Two title rival Lando Norris after the latest round in the series held at the Autodromo Monza in Italy.
The Norfolk racer journeyed to the Italian circuit after seeing his series lead cut to just five points by Norris, who has landed a McLaren F1 seat for next year, after what Russell described as a “one of the toughest weekends of the year” at the previous round.
The Mercedes AMG Formula One reserve driver was fired up to make sure he held on to his lead and put in a scintillating qualifying lap to grab pole position, his fourth of the year, but more importantly gained four additional points for the feat.
“I just went for it and really nailed the lap,” said Russell. “I’m here to impress people in the Formula 1 paddock because that’s where I’m aiming to be next year”.
Russell made a tardy race one start from pole position and found himself squeezed down to third at the opening corner by Artem Markelov, driving for the Snetterton-based Russian Time squad, and Alex Albon.
Critically, Russell was ahead of Norris and maintained his advantage through the pit stop phase, but Norris was edging closer and mounted a challenge, via the grass, to pass his rival.
Russell repelled his advances, but Norris tried again and made it stick at turn three. Russell racer fought back a lap later, but was held off before finally displacing his rival at turn one on the 23rd lap.
Russell held onto fourth to the finish, while Norris lost a further position in the final laps which helped Russell increase his lead to 13 points before Sunday’s race.
“Apologies to the team,” said Russell. “I lost that race at the start with a lack of confidence on the brakes.”
Russell soon made up for his race one regrets by taking victory in race two, his fifth of the season, to increase his series lead to 22 over Norris with two rounds remaining. Starting fifth Russell moved up to second on the run to the first corner and then made a move for the lead, which saw him lock up and use the escape road.
Rejoining in third place, Russell followed Markelov past Nicholas Latiff and when the Russian Time racer locked up at the first chicane Russell was able to power past and into a lead he held to the chequered flag.