World of difference, but Norfolk racer George Russell ends season on a high note

George Russell, standing on the Feature Race GP3 podium for the sixth time out of eight events, next

George Russell, standing on the Feature Race GP3 podium for the sixth time out of eight events, next to winner Niko Kari with third placed Arjun Maini on the right. Picture: Zak Mauger - Credit: Zak Mauger

George Russell admitted he found swapping a Formula One car for his usual GP3 racing machine 'quite hard' – but it didn't stop the Norfolk racer from claiming his fourth pole position in the final GP3 race of the season in Abu Dhabi.

'Very happy with that,' smiled Russell after claiming half of the poles for himself which ensured that his team, ART Grand Prix, locked out every pole position between its four drivers.

'Straight after the FP1 (free practice 1) session with Force India I didn't really know what to expect, coming back into a GP3 car just 40 minutes later, and it was very different.' But the champion-elect wasn't to be denied.

'It was quite hard jumping into the F1 from GP3 this morning, because it's just completely different and the power steering is a big part of that difference, and then jumping back also because my braking points were obviously completely different,' added Russell.

'I was probably entering a high braking zone 50kmph faster in F1 and braking 25 metres later than I do in GP3, so to revert back to that was quite tough. They are two very different cars, but in the end it worked out fine and I was very pleased.'

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Having completed his Grand Prix driving duties on the Friday, Russell went into Saturday's opening GP3 feature race confidently, without the added pressure of the championship having wrapped up the series at the previous round.

Russell didn't make the best of starts and while defending from Leonardo Pulcini was passed around the outside of the first turn by Niko Kari. Further around the lap Pulcini squeezed Russell back to third. The racing was interrupted with two Virtual Safety Car periods and on the second Russell was able to get the jump on Pulcini and take back second.

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He said: 'On the second restart I got past him; he might have been in the wrong gear or something and I cruised past him.'

Russell started the reversed grid second race from seventh and in another of his trademark smooth races took advantage of mistakes by his rivals to finish fourth.

'One championship by 80 points, four wins, four poles, one incredible year and team,' tweeted Russell.

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