Russell Wraps Up Title Winning FIA F2 Season in Abu Dhabi
2018 FIA Formula 2 Champion George Russell, finished 4th in the final race of the season at the Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi in the Sprint Race finale. Russell was later officially crowned championship at the Prize Giving ceremony, before he prepares to step up to Formula 1 with Williams Racing next season.
After winning the F2 Feature Race yesterday and the overall Driver's Championship in the process, ART Grand Prix driver George Russell would start the Sprint Race from 8th on the partially reversed-grid.
The first start was aborted, following Prema Racing's Sean Gelael being out of position on the grid and the Carlin of Sergio Sette Camara stalling.
At the second time of asking, Russell made a brilliant getaway - threading just about between the Campos of Luca Ghiotto and the inside wall to move himself up into 5th position into Turn 1.
Russell was immediately onto the back of the duelling Nyck de Vries and Lando Norris for 4th position, before the Virtual Safety Car was deployed for one-lap. When the racing resumed, it ended in an incredibly awkward place for Russell, which saw the Charouz of Louis Deletraz able to slipstream past him on the back straight.
Russell took 5th position back next lap around, before quickly latching onto the back of de Vries as DRS was enabled.
A few laps later, Russell made a bold late braking move into Turn 11 on the Prema Racing driver and made it stick, taking 4th position and in with a shot of the podium places.
Russell was now combining tyre management and outright pace, as he slowed clawed into Norris' advantage in 3rd place. Russell got within DRS range at half-distance, but was unable to clear his rival as the DRS system was no longer working for all driver's on the grid.
Russell pushed hard to try and seal the overtake without it, but being so close in the 'dirty air' of Norris meant he would be damaging his tyres, so the BRDC Superstar resorted to saving his tyres for a later pursuit if the system was fixed.
DRS was unable to be enabled for the rest of the rest, as Russell finished the final race of the season in 4th position - just off the podium for his final FIA Formula 2 race, but claiming the two bonus points for fastest lap of the race.
George Russell "It’s been a very long and tough year for myself and ART, and we’ve worked really hard and probably from Baku we’ve been one of the quickest on track every single time.The team is absolutely delighted, because they’ve had 2 difficult years in F2/GP2 prior to this.
We’ve had 2 years together, because I was with them last year in GP3, and it’s been a real journey working with each other. You probably saw the emotion at the podium from the mechanics and engineers: they’re absolutely buzzing!
Russell ended the season with 287 points, surpassing the highest total in a season since the FIA Formula 2 Championship was reborn in 2017. He took 7 victories - matching the record with Charles Leclerc and Stoffel Vandoorne, as well as taking 11 podium finishes and 5 pole position. All this set him on his way to back-to-back championship glory.
Attention now turns to the Post-Abu Dhabi Grand Prix test on Tuesday, where Russell will be in action for the first time in Williams Racing colours - as he makes his F1 debut with his new team, with all focus now on his maiden season at the pinnacle of motorsport in 2019.
Photos: FIA Formula 2 Media / Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport