Russell Storms to 2nd in Red Bull Ring FIA F2 Sprint Race
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Reserve Driver George Russell put in a storming performance in the Sprint Race at the Red Bull Ring, climbing from 8th on the grid to finish in 2nd position and took the FIA F2 Championship lead in the process.
After being victorious in the Feature Race yesterday from pole position, Russell started the partially reversed Sprint Race from 8th on the grid, just behind main championship rival and leader Lando Norris.
The race started once again behind the Safety Car for a 'rolling start'. Roberto Mehri was forced to start from the pit lane, which elevated drivers from sixth position up one place in the order.
Russell immediatley sent a move up the inside of Norris when the racing got underway into Turn 1, moving himself up into 6th position and signal his intent for the race.
Over the next three laps, Russell was mercenary in his fight up the order - charging past rivals Antonio Fuoco, Alexander Albon and Sergio Sette Camara in consecutive laps, pulling off the same late braking move into Turn 1 and holding them off down the following straight.
Two laps later, Russell was onto the back of Russian Time's Tadasuke Makino for 2nd position. The BRDC Superstar made his move that lap to move up in 2nd, with just 'Reserve Grid Pole Sitter' Artem Markelov ahead of him.
Russell had used up the most of his 'Soft' compound Pirelli tyres in his charge up the order, so he settled into a rhytmn to preserve his tyres for the rest of the 28-lap Sprint Race, just missing out on setting fastest lap for the bonus two championship points.
The Mercedes-AMG Junior came home 2nd position at the chequered flag, which earned the Briton 12 championship points. With his main rival Norris fading in the closing stages to 11th and not scoring any points, Russell now moves into the lead of the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship standings on 132 points - with a ten point advantage over Norris.
George Russell "I had great confidence in my car after the installation laps, so in my mind when I set off I was going to attack in the early phases of the race. I knew I was taking a big risk because I saw the tyre degradation yesterday, and I managed to get up to P2 very quickly. Because I was attacking in the early phases, I thought it would be best to consolidate P2, look after the tyres and try to bring it home – and that’s exactly what we did, it was a fantastic race and I’m really happy to come back on the podium again."
Silverstone hosts the next round of the championship on the 6-8 July, for the last of the 'Triple Header' weekend of races, that took place back-to-back at Paul Ricard, Red Bull Ring and now Silverstone.
Russell heads into his 'home race' in control of the championship for the first time this season, on the back of his a very strong performance this weekend - that saw him take his second pole position in a row, his fourth race victory of the season on Saturday and backing it up with another podium today.
Photos: Zak Mauger / FIA Formula 2