George Russell Dominates Red Bull Ring F2 Feature Race
ART Grand Prix driver George Russell took his 4th victory of the FIA F2 Championship with a dominant performance from pole position in the Feature Race at the Red Bull Ring
After taking his second pole position in as many weeks in Qualifying yesterday, Russell lined up at the front of the grid for the first of the two races of the weekend in Spielberg.
Due to the recent clutch issues that have plagued drivers in the FIA F2 Championship so far this season, the decision was made by the FIA overnight to have ‘rolling starts’ behind the Safety Car for the next four races of the championship.
Russell duly led the field away from pole position,
establishing an early lead over 2nd place driver and championship
rival Lando Norris.
The BRDC Superstar built up a comfortable advantage over the chasing pack,
before a Safety Car was deployed for an incident where Nyck de Vries retired
with a puncture and Ralph Boschung stopped on circuit, wiping out Russell’s
This period behind the Safety Car provided the perfect opportunity for the drivers starting on the ‘Super Soft’ tyres, to pit and swap to the more durable ‘Soft’ tyres for the rest of the race. Russell emerged in 4th position, but in the net lead of the race – with those on the alternative strategy yet to stop for their mandatory pit stop.
Russell made inroads into his rivals ahead, working through
into 2nd position on the road – moving comfortably ahead of Norris who
was marred battling with Roberto Mehri.
When Artem Markelov pitted on Lap 30, Russell took back the lead of the race and held it to the chequered flag – claiming his fourth victory of the 2018 season by 5.1 seconds over Norris, with Antonio Fuoco taking the final spot on the podium.
George Russell "The degradation of the 'Super Soft' tyres at the start was absolutely enormous and after about the first lap and a half I was sliding all over the place. I thought I was really struggling, and I looked in my mirrors and Lando was really struggling as well, so the first half of the race was really tricky. In Formula 2 we get very limited testing at a race weekend, so it’s very difficult to know what the tyre degradation is going to be like.
But we brought the car home, it wasn’t easy but we got the 25 points."
Russell sits just 2 points off the lead of the FIA Formula 2 Championship following his second Feature Race in as many races today. He will start the partially reversed Sprint Race from 8th position, with championship rival Norris starting one position ahead.
The Sprint Race will be shown live on Sky Sports F1 HD tomorrow (1 July) at 11:00 (GMT+2) just before the 2018 Formula One Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring.
Photos: Zak Mauger / FIA Formula 2