Russell 4th in Monza Formula 2 Feature Race Thriller
ART Grand Prix’s George Russell just missed out on a podium finish in the FIA Formula 2 Feature Race, after a titanic wheel-to-wheel battle with championship rival Lando Norris.
Russell started from pole position after topping the times in qualifying yesterday. Drama at the start saw his fellow front-row starter Sergio Sette Camara unable to take the start as the field left on the Formation Lap.
As the lights went out, Russell had a good getaway, as he moved to the inside line to defend into Turn 1. The pole-man however was bit tentative on the brakes, opening the door for two of his rivals– dropping behind Russian Time’s Artem Markelov and the DAMS of Alexander Albon.
Russell ran in 3rd in the early stages, before the other Russian Time of Tadasuke Makino – who started on the ‘Medium’ compound Pirelli Tyre, began cutting through the field on the alternate strategy.
Russell pitted from 4th position on Lap 8, passing Albon in the pits after a great stop by his ART mechanics. The BRDC Superstar latched onto the back of Markelov on Lap 10, overtaking the Russian driver at ‘Parabolica’. This however gave Markelov a run down the main straight, as he re-passed Russell into Turn 1.
This fight brought Albon onto the back of Russell, who made his way past and into a net 3rd position on Lap 11.
Russell had his main championship rival Lando Norris all over the back of him on Lap 19, as the pair went side-by-side through ‘Curva Grande’, with Norris putting a wheel on grass as he tried to make a move around the outside. Russell held firm from the first attack, until the next lap around – where Norris got a better drive out of the chicane to move past Russell, this time up the inside at ‘Curva Grande’.
The two championship leaders continued to trade blows, as Russell made a big lunge at Norris into Turn 1 the next lap around, but locked a wheel and had to go over the escape road and emerged behind his rival.
On Lap 23, Russell had stayed within DRS range of Norris and made a late overtake up the inside at Turn 1, reclaiming 4th position.
Despite the pressure from behind, Russell managed to resist and build a small gap over his title rival, moving out of DRS threat and began to manage the gap to Albon in front.
Russell crossed the line in 4th position, extending his lead in the championship over Norris to 13 points – after the Carlin driver finished the race in 6th position.
The FIA F2 Sprint Race will see Russell start from 5th on the grid in the partially reversed-grid race, which will start at 10:55 (GMT+2) tomorrow before the Formula One Italian Grand Prix.
Photos: FIA Formula 2 Media