Home favourite Russell wins from GP3 pole at Silverstone
ART GP driver George Russell took his second victory of the 2017 GP3 Series at Silverstone in the opening race of the weekend. After securing pole position, he went on to take the win infront of his home crowd and take the championship lead.
Russell started the weekend strongly from the off, setting the pace in the Thursday Free Practice session by 0.3s from his nearest rival. The BRDC Superstar, racing in-front of his home crowd and supporters, converted this rapid pace into qualifying and rose to the occasion.
After the first runs in qualifying, Russell headed the standings as the drivers all came in for a set of new tyres and headed out for the final push for pole. Despite being run close by teammate Anthoine Hubert, Russell was not to be denied, taking pole position with a 1:46.608s lap, with a margin of 0.106s and heading an ART GP 1-2-3 on the grid for the first race of the weekend. Russell bagged the four extra points for pole position, taking the lead of the championship from teammate Nirei Fukuzumi.
The start of the first race of the weekend saw Russell have some wheel spin at the start, leaving him vulnerable to teammate Hubert who took the lead into turn one. Red Bull Junior Niko Kari put Russell under pressure for the first lap but the Brit held firm.
Lap three saw DRS become available to the drivers, Russell immediately used it in his pursuit of Hubert. With his second use of DRS, Russell got a great run through Maggots, Becketts and Chapel to be in the slipstream of his teammate onto the Hangar Straight - Russell made a bold move around the outside and take the lead of the race, much to the delight of his fans and the crowd.
Russell managed the gap to his teammate behind in the same controlling fashion as per the previous race at the Red Bull Ring. By lap 12, Russell had broken away and out of DRS threat from his rivals behind as he continued on his way at the head of the pack. A Virtual Safety Car was called on lap 15 for a stricken car on the exit of the old pit straight. Russell's advantage was negated in this period.
The race got going again on lap 17, Russell survived the initial threat from behind and resumed business at the head of the field.
The Mercedes-AMG F1 Junior managed the race over the final two laps to the checkered flag, taking his second victory of the season in GP3 and further extending his lead at the top of the championship. Teammate Hubert and Jenzer Motorsport driver Alessio Lorandi completed the podium.
George Russell "I’ve been looking forward to doing this race ever since I signed to do GP3 with ART, and I said to you yesterday that I’ve got lots of great memories from Silverstone, and it brought a lot of confidence to me coming into this weekend. So I’ve been looking forward to doing this weekend for a while, and to win in front of my home crowd, with family and friends coming to support me, is a great feeling."
Russell currently leads the championship by points from Hubert and ART Grand Prix have taken a big lead in the Team's championship thanks to another brace of podiums for the team.
The second race of the weekend will see Russell start from 8th position due to the top-eight finishers being reversed for race two. The race gets underway at 8:00am as a support race to the Formula 1 British Grand Prix and can be seen live on Sky Sports F1.