Russell takes maiden GP3 pole and victory at the Red Bull Ring
Mercedes-AMG F1 Junior Driver and ART Grand Prix driver George Russell took his maiden GP3 Series pole position and victory at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg this weekend.
Qualifying was tense and close around the shortest circuit on the calendar – with the first runs complete, Russell was 3rd overall as the drivers filtered in for a setup and tyre change. In a dramatic climax, Russell cemented himself on pole position by just over a tenth of a second with a brilliant final lap to take the top spot from his teammate Jack Aitken.
At the start, teammate and rival Aitken had a slightly better reaction but Russell had the better line in the uphill run into turn one, Russell robustly defending his position into turn one to shut down any attack before heading up the long run into turn two.
Russell managed to get his head down and build a gap to the chasing pack – however a collision at turn one halted proceedings with a VSC (Virtual Safety Car) Russell nailed the restart to once again control proceedings as the race got under way again. The BRDC Superstar built a gap and set about managing his tyres and race whilst staying outside of DRS threat by his rivals behind.
Russell would lead the pack home to take his maiden victory in the GP3 Series by two seconds from teammate Aitken – as he led an ART 1,2,3,4 in the race result. Russell took a valuable 25 points and clearly cemented himself as a title contender after taking a pole position, leading every lap and won the race!
George Russell “I’d say 90 percent of the race, I was in control and managing the gap to Jack behind. But in the early stages, just after the virtual safety car, there was a lot of oil on the circuit. That was extremely tense for a couple of laps because you come to this first and I was entering those corners not knowing if I would make it or if there was a big puddle there. Other than that, I was just managing the gap to Jack and in the end pushing for the fastest lap but, it was a great race for ART. They completely dominated it as a team- I must say massive thanks to them.”
After his race one success, the reverse grid second race saw Russell start from 8th position. In a congested start, Russell made a clean getaway and avoiding any accidents into turn one. Russell settled into his rhythm battling with his teammates Aitken and Hubert throughout the race.
Russell managed to gain ground up to 6th position at the flag to bag another good haul of points during a very successful weekend in Austria.
The GP3 Series next heads to Russell’s home event at Silverstone in just one weeks’ time. The talented Briton is 2nd overall in the GP3 Series standings now on 53 points - a single point off the top of the table.