Win Number 5 for Russell in Monza FIA F2 Sprint Race
Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Reserve George Russell made a great getaway from 5th on the grid to catapult himself into contention for the race victory, where a move around the outside of Artem Markelov at ‘Curva Grande’ secured his fifth win of the season.
Following his 4th place finish in the F2 Feature Race yesterday, Russell started from 5th on the grid and made a great getaway to vault up to 2nd position on the run down to the first corner.
Russell caught the leader Nicholas Latifi on Lap 4 and made the use of DRS to make a move on the DAMS driver down the start/finish straight. The Briton however locked a brake and was forced through the run-off area, where he re-joined in 3rd behind Russian Time’s Artem Markelov.
Markelov took the lead from Latifi, with Russell making an overtaking move stick on Lap 9 to move himself into 2nd position and ready to hunt down the leader. This put breathing space between Russell and a charging Sergio Sette Camara, who was closing on the leading pack.
Russell built a gap on Latifi, when two laps later, Markelov locked a brake into the Turn 1 chicane and has to go through the escape road. This gave Russell a run around the outside of the Russian driver at ‘Curva Grande’, where he made the move stick and took the lead of the race.
Russell had Markelov for company out front, however the ART Grand Prix driver and championship leader withstood the pressure and kept just out of DRS threat. It appeared that Markelov’s attack came to an end after a number of intense laps, where he was forced to preserve tyres and gave Russell some breathing space out front.
The BRDC Superstar held on to take his fifth FIA F2 victory of the season, extending his championship lead to 22 points over nearest rival Lando Norris in the process.
George Russell "I was quite disappointed with myself yesterday and I felt like I’d handed what I thought was a victory to Artem, I battled with him and Alex but I had a small issue with the brakes, and small problems can cause big problems as I wasn’t able to come back at him later in the race.
We potentially lost a victory, or P2, yesterday and so I wanted to put it right today, and I was pleased to regain the position today: obviously I inherited it a bit after a small mistake by Artem, but earlier when I went for the lead I made a mistake too, so it was a tricky race.
I was confident when I broke Artem’s DRS that I could win the race. It’s so difficult on this circuit where you pull a gap of almost 1 second, but he’d just catch it and then the DRS come in and we were just yo-yoing for 7 laps or so. But I finally did one really good lap where I just broke the 1 second gap and I could start to pull away a bit, and then I knew I had it.
It wasn’t easy for everyone today, but at the end of the day we’ve extended the championship lead and I’m happy with the win today."
FIA Formula 2 now heads to the final two fly-away races, with the first at Sochi Autodrom in Russia for the next round of the championship on the 28-30 September, for the penultimate round of the 2018 season.
The championship will then conclude at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi for the season finale on the 23-25 November, where the champion will be crowned.
Photos: FIA Formula 2 Media