George Russell 2nd in FIA F2 Silverstone Feature Race

July 7, 2018
Mercedes-AMG F1 Reserve driver George Russell extended his championship lead with an FIA F2 podium in his 'home' race at Silverstone

George Russell 2nd in FIA F2 Silverstone Feature Race

July 7, 2018
8:40 pm

ART Grand Prix’s George Russell took 2nd position and the fastest lap in the FIA Formula 2 Feature Race at Silverstone, extending his lead in the standings after the first race at his ‘home’ round of the championship.

Russell started from pole position after topping the times in yesterday’s Qualifying session. The race once again began behind the Safety Car with a ‘rolling start’.
The BRDC Superstar, in front of his ‘home crowd’, family and supporters made a great start to pull out an immediate advantage over nearest rival Alexander Albon at the start of the race. Russell managed to move out of DRS threat from Albon, after building a 1.5s lead on just the third lap of the race. He continued to lead from the front, increasing his advantage steadily in the opening stages of the race to 2.7s – before pitting on Lap 6 for his mandatory pit stop. 

Unfortunately there was an issue in the pitstop, with an issue fitting the front-left tyre which cost him crucial time in the pitstop. This meant Albon was able to jump Russell for the lead during the pit stop phase – undoing his previously established advantage out front.

Russell rejoined a couple of seconds behind new leader Albon, maintaining the gap to his rival within a 1.5s to 2.5s for majority of the middle phase of the race. Russell’s pit stop issue was compounded by him being given a 5-second time penalty, due to speeding in the pitlane.

The ART GP driver had to balance tyre management against ultimate lap time in the 29-lap race, as well as pull out a large enough gap to his rival behind in order to secure atleast 2nd position. A VSC (Virtual Safety Car) period was deployed when Nirei Fukuzumi’s BWT Arden ground to a halt on the 'Hanger Straight'.

Russell and Albon were exchanging lap times out front as they seamlessly moved away from the rest of the pack in the lead of the race, before a second VSC period was triggered by the Prema car of Sean Gelael, stopping on the exit of ‘Brooklands’ corner and briefly neutralising the race on Lap 21.

As the race neared the closing stages, Russell changed his focus to gaining more championship points by pushing for the Fastest Lap of the race. After going easy on his tyres for two laps, Russell managed to put in a 1:44.448s lap, bagging the two extra points on offer.

Russell crossed the line in 2nd position behind race winner Albon, but with plenty of margin back to Antonio Fuoco in 3rd position. The result means that the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Reserve Driver has extended his championship advantage over nearest rival Lando Norris, who finished in 10th position.

Russell leads the FIA F2 standings on 156 points heading into the Sprint Race tomorrow, where he starts the partially reversed race from 7th on the grid.

The second race of the weekend at Silverstone begins at 09:20 (GMT+1), which takes place before the Formula One British Grand Prix and is shown live on Sky Sports F1 HD.

Photos: Zak Mauger / FIA Formula 2

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