George Russell closes the gap on second place in FIA F3 Championship
PUBLISHED: 07:00 13 October 2016
Thomas Suer / suer.photography
George Russell took advantage of rival Maximilian Günther being unable to add to his points tally in the latest round of the FIA Formula Three Championship to close to within 36 points of second place in the series.
The Norfolk racer had one of his best weekends in the series scoring more points than anyone else apart from champion-elect Lance Stroll, who will graduate to a Formula One drive next year with Williams GP.
“All in all, I scored solid points and I was able to reduce my gap to Maximilian Günther for second place in the drivers’ standings,” said Russell.
Russell started race one from third on the grid with Nick Cassidy, who he was battling with for third place in the championship as the series headed to the Italian circuit of Imola, two places further back.
Come the race Russell would secure fourth having been in third place for a while until Joel Eriksson demoted him from the podium.
However, with Günther only able to finish 12th, after being relegated to the back of the grid for the race due to irregularities, and Cassidy losing fifth place after post-race penalties for exceeding track limits, Russell was able to steal a march on both.
Race two saw Russell start from third on the grid once more and the local driver had a spirited race with Eriksson which again ended with the Swede beating the local racer to the chequered flag.
“In the opening stages, I managed to take second place from Joel, but I had no chance when he countered after the second safety car intervention,” explained Russell.
In the final race Russell chased after Stroll but despite adjustments made by his Hitech GP team he was unable to deny the new title holder victory.
“Compared to the second race, we made some changes on the car. However, we had expected at least one safety car intervention again, but that didn’t happen. All in all, I scored solid points and I was able to reduce my gap to second place in the drivers’ standings.”
Elite Motorsport of Shipdham signed off their Ginetta Junior campaign having been unfortunate not to have taken victory in the final race in the series with lead driver Harry King.
King led the mid part of the race, held on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix layout, but in the cut and thrust of the ultra-close racing was elbowed back to third on the penultimate lap before reclaiming second place on the final lap.
In the earlier event King narrowly missed out on a podium place with his late season form elevating him into third place in the Rookie series for newcomers.
“It’s been a great weekend to end the year and two rookie wins is a fantastic way to bring the curtain down on my season,” remarked King.
“Overall, I’m really pleased with the way that my first season in the championship has gone.”