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Russell warms up for ultimate challenge by winning Formula 2 title

PUBLISHED: 17:47 25 November 2018 | UPDATED: 14:15 26 November 2018

George Russell celebrates winning the Formula 2 championship with his team in Abu Dhabi Picture: Zak Mauger / FIA

George Russell celebrates winning the Formula 2 championship with his team in Abu Dhabi Picture: Zak Mauger / FIA

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Formula One bound George Russell wrapped up the FIA Formula Two title yesterday with a dominant display in the final round of the season.

In a race that supported the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, he took his seventh win of the season to seal the crown in style.

The King’s Lynn born racer, who already has a Williams F1 contact for next year, was keen to finish this season off with the F2 title and qualifying could hardly have gone better as he scorched around the Yas Marina Circuit to claim his fifth pole of the season,

“I managed to nail a great lap,” explained Russell. “My goal is to just get a good start, get into the lead and manage the race from there.”

However a poor start from the local racer in Abu Dhabi saw Nyck de Vries beat him to the opening corner but behind the first two there was mayhem.

Russell’s title rival Alex Albon, Nicholas Latifi and Sergio Sette Camara all stalled on the grid, causing Arjun Maini to smash into Latifi’s car, spreading debris across the track.

The safety car was deployed for five laps while the mess was cleared up before the race resumed, with Russell pushing hard to take the lead before electing to pit early to change tyres.

An impressive out lap enabled Russell to steal ahead of de Vries, who stopped a lap later. However it was the late stopping Luca Ghiotto who was leading the way until he took his mandatory pit stop three laps before the end.

This elevated Russell into a lead he held to the finish to equal the record for most F2 race wins in a season held by Formula 1 racers Stoffell Vandoorne and Charles Leclerc.

“It’s a huge sigh of relief to be honest,” said Russell in the post race press conference.

“It’s been a long and tough year for myself and ART (Russell’s team). We knew what we had to do today, to win in style, and that’s what we did.”

Yesterday’s sprint race saw Russell, who started eighth on the partly reversed grid, finish just off the podium in fourth place to finish off two championship winning seasons with ART, having taken the GP3 title last year.

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