Russell on top at final day of Le Castellet FIA Formula 2 test
George Russell set the fastest time at the Circuit Le Castellet on the final day of the opening FIA Formula 2 test of the season.
The 2017 GP3 Series champion lead an ART Grand Prix 1-2 in the fastest times of the day, with his 1:42.396s lap from the morning session remaining unbeatable as the final day at Paul Ricard drew to a close.
After experiences some technical issues throughout the opening two days of testing, Russell hit back with a brace of laps which were good enough to top the times today. The beginning of the session saw the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Formula One Reserve Driver hit the top spot on the medium tyres, before usurping that later on after trading fastest times with teammate Jack Aitken.
Russell completed 47 laps in the first session, which saw him make up for the lost running on Wednesday as well as beginning to maximise the potential of the ART Grand Prix prepared Dallara F2/18.
The afternoon session was focused around long runs and race setups, which saw the Briton accumulate a further 60 laps to his tally - completing 107 laps in a productive final day of the first test.
George Russell "After a very tricky Day 2 of testing after a number of small mechanical issues which cost us a lot of time and laps, it was great to finally have a trouble free day and get some proper laps behind the new car.
We couldn't have ended the 3 day test in a better way, so I'm feeling good heading into our Bahrain test"
When the test began on Tuesday, Russell and teammate Aitken spent most of the morning session in the pits, after a serious technical issue developed on Aitken's car, limiting the teams running while the issue was resolved. Russell managed to cover only 8 laps in the wet session to kick off the test.
The afternoon saw both cars able to get crucial mileage for the team, with Russell setting the 5th fastest time, whilst completing 20 laps on the now drying circuit.
Wednesday morning saw Russell set the 6th fastest time in the morning session, with a 37 lap haul - before he was forced to stop on track with 20 minutes of the session remaining, bringing out the red flags.
The afternoon was a frustrating session, where Russell was still blighted with reliability issues- only allowing him to complete 9 laps of the Paul Ricard Circuit.
The final day was a strong recovery from the reigning GP3 Series Champion, as the team managed to gain valuable data on how the Pirelli tyres work with the new for 2018 F2/18 car on both qualifying and race style runs.
Russell will be back in action for the second FIA Formula 2 Official Test at the Sakhir International Circuit in Bahrain, on the 21-23 March, just a fortnight before the series returns to the circuit, this time for the opening round of the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship on the 6-8 April.
Images: Courtesy of FIA F2 Media