Russell takes FIA F2 Pole Position at the Red Bull Ring
ART Grand Prix driver George Russell took his second pole position in the FIA Formula 2 Championship at the Red Bull Ring, making it back-to-back poles in successive race weekends for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Reserve Driver.
After topping the earlier Free Practice session, ran exclusively on the 'Soft' compound Pirelli tyres, Russell carried his impressive start of the weekend into the start of Qualifying in Spielberg.
In the first runs of the session, now on the red marked 'Super Soft' Pirelli tyres, Russell hit the top immediately - topping the time-sheets with a 1:14.104s lap, just ahead of his closest rival Sergio Sette Camara.
Russell went for another run on the same set of tyres, after cooling his tyres in preparation for the second attempt. The BRDC Superstar hooked up another great lap - to become the first of the twenty drivers to dip into the 1:13s barrier, extending his advantage out at the front by setting a 1:13.932s lap.
All drivers retreated to the pits, as the final setup changes, data checks and change of tyres were made for the final shootout for pole position. Russell's ART Grand Prix teammate Jack Aitken was first out, setting a time within half a tenth of Russell's benchmark.
Shortly after, Russell hit back with a lap time that was almost four tenths faster than his teammate, putting in a lap-time of 1:13.574s to put breathing space between him and the chasing pack.
Championship rival Lando Norris slotted into 2nd position, 0.205s off Russell's lap, with his Carlin teammate Sette Camara moving into 3rd position, just ahead of Aitken.
Russell managed to get one more lap in right at the end of the session, the Mercedes-AMG F1 Junior hooked up another fastest lap, improving his time once again to a rapid 1:13.541s.
Ultimately his lap-time would prove unbeatable, beating his nearest rival by 0.238s out front, as he took his second pole position in as many weeks in FIA F2 - following his maiden pole in the championship last weekend at Le Castellet.
Russell gains the four championship points that come with pole position - moving himself within 9 points of championship leader Norris heading into the Feature Race tomorrow.
George Russell "It was a great session for us, it was clear after practice that we were very quick. We made a few changes to the car prior to Paul Ricard last week, and it’s really working well for us in a qualifying situation. I went up there onto the supersoft tyre, it was a bit of a challenge for all of us to make that step from practice where we were on the softs, but we were improving with every lap!"
The first of the two FIA Formula 2 races takes place on Saturday 30th June at 16:45 (GMT +2), with the races live on Sky Sports F1 HD.
Russell will be starting from the front of the grid and looking at taking his fourth victory of the 2018 campaign, as he aims to make further inroads to the championship lead.
Photos: Zak Mauger / FIA Formula 2