A Formula One champion in waiting? George Russell eases to GP3 success
- Credit: Zak Mauger
Mercedes AMG Formula One Junior racer George Russell beat GP3 title rival Jack Aitken in both of the latest races to secure the Norfolk driver a well-deserved crown with a round to spare.
'It feels fantastic!' reflected the new champion. 'Firstly, I would like to give a massive thank you to everybody at ART Grand Prix. They have been absolutely incredible.
'Secondly, I would like to thank Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport.
'They've obviously helped me a lot this season, they put their faith in me at the start of the year, and they have developed me into a better driver to get me into this position today.'
Russell started the weekend off with a clear goal.
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'The priority was to outscore my main rival and finish ahead of him, which is Jack, and not lose any points in the standings,' he said.
Qualifying for the penultimate round in the series at the Spanish Jerez Circuit saw the local racer knocked off pole position by his ART Grand Prix team mates Nirei Fukuzumi and Aitken.
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'I knew this circuit was going to be difficult to overtake on so I knew if I wanted to pass Jack, and to finish second, I needed to do it as soon as possible,' added Russell.
'I saw an opportunity at turn two. Luckily I made it stick and it was a fairly simple race from there really.'
Russell went into Sunday's second race with one goal solely in mind.
'Today's target is to outscore my rivals by four points. Let's see if we can finish the job two races early.'
The local racer would start race two from seventh on the grid, one place behind Aitken, and made a move on his rival at the opening corner which was repelled.
However, Russell wasn't to be denied fifth place and at the turn six hairpin he forced his way through with Fukuzumi also getting by Aitken at the same time.
Russell then went onto claim the race's fastest lap and with it the additional points which would secure him the title over the seventh-placed finishing Aitken.
'Yesss!! We did it!!' proclaimed Russell at the finish, who had a sufficient points lead over Aitken to secure the title with one round and two races to spare.