Russell Scores Maiden FIA F2 Pole Position at Paul Ricard
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Reserve and ART Grand Prix Driver George Russell took his maiden pole position in the FIA Formula 2 Championship at the Le Castellet, Paul Ricard Circuit in France.
Russell set the 2nd fastest time in the opening Practice Session of the weekend, just 0.083s off the fastest time. The Briton carried this form into Qualifying, setting the benchmark time from the beginning of the session during the first runs - posting a 1:45.248s time to top the times at the early stages.
He would then take another half a second off his benchmark time, after cooling his tyres and going for a second attempt. Russell put in a 1:44.775s lap to extend his advantage at the top, setting three purple sectors in the process.
The majority of the drivers pulled into the pit lane to change tyres in preparation for their final runs of the session. Russell set the fastest first sector of anyone, before once again setting the bar with a 1:44.469s lap with a couple of minutes left on the clock.
Russell was not to be denied, as his time remained at the top of the pile as the session ended - sealing his first pole position in the FIA F2 Championship, at his team ART Grand Prix's home event.
Russell took the 4 championship points for pole position. He will start alongside Albon on the front row, with championship leader Lando Norris in 3rd position on the grid.
George Russell "We’ve always been thereabouts this season – we’ve had the pace but never quite optimised it, either due to me, the car setup or something that was holding us back. We learned from our mistakes in the previous races and fully optimised it today, so that was the reason for our great performance.
Tomorrow is just about getting off the line safety, go for a decent start, it’s been very tricky for everyone this year so hopefully we’ll start well – if I concede a position or two it’s not the end of the world. It’s a long race and we’ve seen throughout the year we’ve got great pace and we’ve managed to overtake and fight our way through.
The opening race of the weekend takes place on Saturday 23 June at 17:45 (GMT+2) with the race live on Sky Sports F1 HD. Russell will be aiming to take his third victory of the 2018 campaign.