George Russell looks forward after mixed season in FIA Formula Three Championship
- Credit: Thomas Suer / suer.photo
George Russell had his perfect finishing record in the FIA Formula Three Championship snatched away from him in the final, and 33rd, race of the season when he became stranded in a gravel trap.
Russell was battling for position when he was clipped by Matt Rao, which saw the Norfolk racer pitched off-track – causing a safety car interlude – and out of the event as he posted his first retirement of the season.
Russell went into the meeting battling Lance Stroll on two fronts, trying to regain his fifth place, which the Ferrari academy racer had recently stolen, and retain second place in the Rookie Championship from the in-form Canadian.
In the opening race of three at Hockenheim, in Germany, Russell was able to improve three places on his starting position of 10th, after a slick passing move on Charles Leclerc, but Stroll was on top form and clinched a narrow maiden victory from British racer Jake Dennis.
In race two Russell started from 10th on the grid, right behind his rival, who was in eighth place, with both drivers improving their positions by two places at the finish.
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'I probably made one of my worst starts ever, so after that I was just fighting back,' said Russell afterwards. 'I had a clear pace advantage over the guy ahead but he was just defending really well the whole race.'
This left Stroll with too large an advantage for Russell to reclaim fifth place in the main series, with a 28-point lead and only a maximum of 25 points awarded for a victory.
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However, Russell still maintained an 8½-point lead over his rival for second place in the Rookie table with the finale to take place with Russell starting from sixth and an advantage over Stroll of four positions.
The race started on a damp track, with drivers opting for both slicks and wets, but for Russell and Stroll it mattered not as neither finished the event, allowing Russell to retain second place in the standings.
'So that's it, ended up P6 in my first year of FIA Formula 3,' concluded Russell.
'Had a lot of ups, downs and unlucky moments which has cost us a lot of points, but we can go into next year feeling confident.'
Russell then moved on to Jerez in Spain to test a Formula Renault 3.5 car for Tech 1 on Tuesday and Strakka Racing the following day as the local racer considers his options for next year.
'We're just giving it a go to see what I think,' said Russell. 'We've just got to weigh up all the options, and doing the test will make FR3.5 one of those.'
The more powerful car will also help Russell to acclimatise to the higher speeds before he tests a Formula 1 McLaren in the latter part of this week, his prize for winning the 2014 McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year prize.