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Norfolk racer George Russell frustrated after stalled start follows fifth place in Bahrain

PUBLISHED: 17:18 10 April 2018 | UPDATED: 17:18 10 April 2018

George Russell leading Louis Deletraz on his way to fifth place in the opening Formula Two race at the Bahrain International Circuit supporting the Bahrain Grand Prix. Picture: Zak Mauger/LAT Images

George Russell leading Louis Deletraz on his way to fifth place in the opening Formula Two race at the Bahrain International Circuit supporting the Bahrain Grand Prix. Picture: Zak Mauger/LAT Images

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George Russell suffered mixed fortunes in the opening races of this year’s FIA Formula Two championship, with the Norfolk racer unable to capitalise on his front row starting slot for race one.

Dan Zelos in the Evergreen car number 45 leading a gaggle of cars in the Renault Clio UK Cup at Brands Hatch. Picture: Jakob Ebrey PhotographyDan Zelos in the Evergreen car number 45 leading a gaggle of cars in the Renault Clio UK Cup at Brands Hatch. Picture: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Russell demonstrated his speed behind the wheel of the new for 2018 F2 car by claiming second place in qualifying at the Bahrain Circuit.

“Could have been better, could have been worse but all things considered I’m happy with that,” he said.

However, things proved to be tougher than he bargained for as he suffered excessive wheel speed at the start of the opening race and dropped several places.

Russell made an early stop for tyres which promoted him back up the race order, but he again slipped back, to finish fifth.

“We just didn’t have the pace today regardless of our very poor start,” admitted a frustrated Russell. “Still good points in the bag but a lot of analysis to do tonight.”

The local racer started Sunday’s second race from the second row of the grid but when the starting lights went out he stalled his ART Grand Prix-tended car, which effectively ended his race as he trailed in a lapped 19th, despite lapping at the same pace as Russian Time’s race winner Artem Markelov.

“I let the team down today,” he admitted. “Pretty gutted to say the least. We will come back stronger in the next race I have no doubt. We have the potential.”

A pair of 13th-place starts in the opening races of the Renault Clio UK Cup was not what Dereham’s Dan Zelos planned as he has always qualified well at Brands Hatch.

“Tough day at the office. Gearbox issues cut short our running but we will come back fighting behind the wheel of the Evergreen Tyres car,” he said.

Two good starts, the first nullified by the race being stopped, saw Zelos grab ninth, which he converted to eighth during the final laps of race one.

“That’s a bit more like it,” he said.

“We made up some good ground around a track where it’s not always easy to move forward.”

In Sunday’s race Zelos was again classified in eighth place after Sam Osborne had been penalised for exceeding track limits.

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