Russell denied in Budapest F2 Feature by Technical Issue
FIA Formula 2 Championship leader George Russell was unable to start from 4th on the grid due to a sticking clutch issues, meaning he would start from the pitlane - but was subsequently forced to retire from the Feature Race due to the technical issue.
ART Grand Prix's George Russell had qualified 4th on the grid for the F2 Feature Race on Saturday, which took place under extreme wet conditions following a huge downpour in the earlier Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix Qualifying Session.
Russell completed his initial lap to the grid, however he was unable to make another lap to take his position on the starting grid due to a technical issue with the clutch - meaning it was fully closed after the first use.
The team did a quick job of changing the clutch sensor to see if this neutralised the issue and managed to get him out of the pitlane in order to join the back of the pack, forming behind the Safety Car for the opening laps.
After a few laps behind the Safety Car, the cars lined up for a 'standing start' - with Russell being forced to start from the pitlane due to not being able to make it to the grid.
As the race got underway, the issue with the clutch was still there, as Russell was forced to be pushed out of the pitlane by his ART mechanics. The championship leader completed a number of laps, however the clutch issue became worse and worse. The clutch was stuck fully closed, meaning he was unable to stop the car properly - making the car dangerous and forced him into retirement from the race.
George Russell "It's a shame. It's the second time this year we've had a mechanical before the race has even started, but it's motor racing. It's just one of those things.
When I came into the pitlane for the first installation lap, I went to take the clutch, it made a terrible screeching noise and the car wasn't stopping. I had to put it in neutral and then I couldn't get back into first.
We thought we'd fixed the problem by changing a sensor, but the problem was still there. As the race progressed it got worse and wouldn't allow me to stop - the clutch was fully closed.
"But we're still leading the championship, the car is still really quick and I fully believe I can win this thing."
The result of the Feature Race meant Russell's championship lead was cut to 19 points by main rival Lando Norris who finished in 2nd position.
The FIA Formula 2 Sprint Race will take place at 11:15 (GMT +2) for the 28-lap race, shown live on Sky Sports F1 HD. Russell will start the race from 20th position, with the aim of getting into the top eight position and scoring points, in order to limit the damage to his championship lead.
Photos: Zak Mauger / FIA Formula 2