Russell consolidates his position at top of the standings after victory
- Credit: Archant
George Russell strengthened his GP3 championship lead with a dominant victory from pole position and then followed up with a scintillating second place in the reversed grid second race.
The Norfolk racer started the weekend off in style by claiming the top spot in qualifying at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit and critically the extra four championship points.
'We were extremely quick from the get go. I had a good feeling with the car, but it was a bit tricky not knowing what the weather was going to do,' said Russell after the wet but drying session had ended. Russell didn't make the best of starts to the opening race which let ART Grand Prix team mate Nirel Fukuzumi steal ahead but the AMG Mercedes F1 Junior driver bided his time.
'For the first few laps I took it quite easy,' claimed Russell who was waiting for the DRS (Drag Reduction System) to be active before making his attack for the lead.
However, a VSC (Virtual Safety Car) interlude interrupted his plans but on the restart Russell was able to jump past his team mate and take the lead.
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'At the re-start I was right behind him and opened the DRS in both zones and managed to get passed, from then on it was about controlling the gap,' said Russell of his victory pass.
Russell would start race two from eighth on the grid and had a podium place in his sights but lost a position at the start.
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The local racer then got his head down and with the use of the DRS was able to make up ground to finally finish in second place to Giuliano Alesi. 'It was almost a perfect weekend with fastest lap in both races, pole and a win on Saturday. That's what we needed after the unfortunate weekend we had in Budapest,' said Russell referring to a sensor failure on his car in the previous round which saw him non-score.
Dan Zelos consolidated his seventh place in the Renault Clio Cup table after the latest races held at the Rockingham Speedway.
The Dereham driver made a scintillating start to race one, from 14th place on the grid, to be eighth at the end of the lap, a position he would finish in.
In the second race Zelos progressed to ninth after starting 12th while Norwich's Shawn Taylor ended up third in the Masters category.