Russell sets the pace in Abu Dhabi

George Russell
George Russell

George Russell has got his championship-deciding weekend under way in fine style by topping this afternoon’s FIA Formula 2 Championship free practice with a lap of 1:51.720, grabbing P1 by over a tenth from Antonio Fuoco and Luca Ghiotto, while title rival Alexander Albon kept his powder dry by coming home in P9, almost a second behind the 2019 Williams F1 driver.

The session got underway with the expected blue skies and soaring temperatures, with Lando Norris and Fuoco the first drivers to set representative times to top the timesheets. The Italian held P1 for the first quarter hour before being usurped by Russell, who looked unruffled as he grabbed the top spot while further back Albon had a slightly wayward moment at the marina complex and decided that discretion was the better part of valor, returning to the pitlane soon afterwards.

And with that, the grid concentrated on their long run pace ahead of the penultimate race tomorrow, with little to concern the timekeepers: Roberto Merhi had a small moment over the curbs while Artem Markelov explored the limits of tire adhesion all around the circuit in an otherwise quiet session.

Nirei Fukuzumi was best of the rest behind the top 3 but ahead of Nyck De Vries, Merhi, Louis Deletraz, Norris, Albon and Markelov as they returned to the paddock to scour the data in an effort to go faster still in this evening’s qualifying session.

Practice 1 Times

Pos Driver Team Laptime Laps
1 George Russell ART Grand Prix 1:51.720 19
2 Antonio Fuoco Charouz Racing System 1:51.884 18
3 Luca Ghiotto Campos Vexatec Racing 1:52.315 20
4 Nirei Fukuzumi BWT Arden 1:52.323 15
5 Nyck De Vries PERTAMINA PREMA Theodore Racing 1:52.386 16
6 Roberto Merhi Campos Vexatec Racing 1:52.395 19
7 Louis Deletraz Charouz Racing System 1:52.518 17
8 Lando Norris Carlin 1:52.611 18
9 Alexander Albon DAMS 1:52.655 17
10 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 1:52.940 16
11 Jack Aitken ART Grand Prix 1:53.012 18
12 Sergio Sette Camara Carlin 1:53.037 18
13 Alessio Lorandi Trident 1:53.216 18
14 Tadasuke Makino RUSSIAN TIME 1:53.360 17
15 Sean Gelael PERTAMINA PREMA Theodore Racing 1:53.398 16
16 Arjun Maini Trident 1:53483 17
17 Nicholas Latifi DAMS 1:53.507 18
18 Niko Kari MP Motorsport 1:53.605 18
19 Dorian Boccolacci MP Motorsport 1:53.875 17
20 Daniel Ticktum BWT Arden 1:54.317 18