Weekend to forget for Russell in FIA Formula 2 at Monaco
ART Grand Prix Driver George Russell had a weekend to forget on the streets at Monte-Carlo, after an early engine failure on his opening lap of Thursday Practice ruined his preparations for Qualifying, leading to him suffering from two races without scoring any championship points.
The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Reserve Driver headed into Monte-Carlo on the back of an impressive run of form where he had scoring two race victories in three races.
It was Russell's first experience on the streets of Monaco, being the first time he has visited the 'Jewel in the Crown' event.
Russell's weekend however started in the worst possible way, as his engine failed on his first flying lap in the only Practice session of the weekend. This meant he still had no experience around the iconic streets heading into the most important Qualifying Session of the season, where track position is so important around the narrow streets.
With Qualifying split up into groups to avoid a traffic jam scenario, Russell had to learn the track in the opening stages of the 15 minute session - starting on the 'Soft' compound tyres in order to learn the track and get some race preparation. Half way through the session, Russell bolted on the 'Super Soft' tyres to go for some low-fuel and Qualifying laps.
Russell was gaining time under each Qualifying run, however with the time constraints, he was only able to register the 9th fastest time in his group.
Russell started the 'Feature Race' from 16th position, making a good start to avoid the start-line crash ahead of him and move up into 13th position. The Safety Car was deployed to recover the stricken Campos of Luca Ghiotto.
On the restart, Russell was attacking Nirei Fukuzumi - before going for a bold overtaking manoeuvre into the Rascasse. Russell went up the inside of the Japanese driver, however went in too deep and running out of road and touching the barrier on the outside - taking him out of the race.
The Sprint Race on Saturday saw Russell start from 17th position, he avoided the two stalled cars of Nyck de Vries and Luca Ghiotto at the start to elevate himself up into 15th, before the slowing cars of Nicolas Latifi and Jack Aitken promoted him up to 13th.
The Virtual Safety Car (VSC) was deployed following the stalled cars, with the race resumed one lap later.
A full Safety Car period soon followed, after a big crash for Gelael at the Swimming Pool section – with a delay to remove the car and replace the barriers causing a break in proceedings.
The race restarted on Lap 10, with Russell all over the back of Roy Nissany’s Campos for 12th position. Nissany twice went through the escape road at the Nouvelle Chicane defending from Russell but kept his position.
The race was stagnated for a number of laps as the drivers looked after their tyres for the 30-lap race. However, Russell had an oversteer moment on the way into the Swimming Pool section, causing him to run wide onto the kerb, which then pitched him into the barrier on the outside – taking him out of the race.
It was a weekend to forget for Russell, who was on the back foot since the Thursday Practice Session, ultimately ending up with no points from the Monaco Grand Prix weekend.
Russell sits 4th overall in the FIA Formula 2 Championship standings, after eight of the twenty-four races on the calendar with 62 points.
The next event takes place at the Circuit Paul Ricard at Le Castellet on the 22-24 June. Russell will be aiming to bounce back from the setback at Monaco and to add to his two race wins from the season so far when FIA Formula 2 returns to action.
Images: FIA F2 Media