Russell excels on iconic Pau street circuit
- Credit: Thomas Suer / suer.photo
The iconic Pau street race in France is a renowned venue for racing drivers to demonstrate their talents and provided the perfect platform for George Russell to display his special talents.
The West Norfolk racer not only claimed his first FIA Formula Three Championship victory of the season but also took his maiden pole position in the series and left the scenic venue in third place in the championship.
'I gave my utmost and I drove the lap of my life that turned out to be enough to claim pole position,' said Russell upon learning of his feat.
Starting the second race from the top spot helped Russell build an early lead and typical of street circuit racing he had to negotiate a pair of safety car periods, which closes the field up behind the leader, but still maintained his advantage to the finish.
'So far I have had quite a lot of bad luck this season and prior to this race I was only 10th in the drivers' standings,' said Russell after claiming victory in the second race of three.
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'However, I knew that we have a fast car and a good team spirit. In the qualifying I was already fastest and then I drove a good race. I moved into the lead at the start and the two restarts after the safety car interventions weren't bad either. I am really happy with my first win of the year and the third one in a row for my team Hitech GP. This certainly isn't the last one.'
Russell started the opening event from grid six and made up two places before the finish while Hitech GP team-mate Ben Barnicoat went on to claim victory. In race three Russell weaved past the opening corner carnage to grab third place which he held to the finish despite a late scare when he picked up a slow puncture after a brush with a safety barrier.
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'With a few laps remaining, I closed up to Alessio (Lorandi) and Lance (Stroll) ahead of me, but when I got a slow puncture on the penultimate lap, I brought the car home without taking any risks.'
Alex Brundle again led the United Autosport Ligier LMP3 car to victory in the second round of the European Le Mans Series, held at Imola, Italy, despite the four-hour race ending early due to a ferocious rain storm.
The King's Lynn racer started the event from grid three but quickly slotted into second place behind the second United Autosport entry but when Matt Bell slid wide at Tamburello on lap six Brundle gratefully took the lead and victory.