Russell clinches pole in Spielberg qualifying

George Russell
George Russell

George Russell waltzed to the fastest time in the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship Qualifying session at Spielberg, Austria, setting a 1:13.541 lap on his final run to grab a second consecutive pole position. The ART Grand Prix driver beat championship leader Lando Norris to top spot, with Norris’ Carlin teammate Sergio Sette Camara taking third.

With huge, black clouds looming over the Red Bull Ring, the drivers quickly swarmed the circuit in the early stages in order to secure a laptime. Norris was first to hit the road, alongside Russell and his ART teammate Jack Aitken – the former setting the first timed lap of the session. With the initial pace slow, Trident’s Arjun Maini was first to bring the lap times into the right ballpark, getting into the 1m15s before the rest of the field joined him.

After the first flurry of hot laps, Russell led the way after setting a 1:14.104, before going for an even faster run following threats from Aitken and Sette Camara. Having covered off strong sectors from the pair, Russell consolidated his advantage ahead of the mid-session lull in running, bringing the benchmark into the 1m13s as everyone pitted for new supersoft tires.

Russell, not wanting to waste any time, got the running back underway with Nyck de Vries of PERTAMINA PREMA Theodore Racing in tow, but Aitken began the next phase of timed laps to momentarily go second – fractions behind Russell’s quickest lap. The Mercedes F1 reserve driver quickly made short work of his teammate, raising the bar higher before Aitken was put further out of reach as Norris and Sette Camara respectively split the two ARTs.

To put pole out of the reach of the two chasing Carlin drivers, Russell took a further three-hundredths of a second out of his best lap to secure pole, as Norris went wide on his final run to concede defeat – with Sette Camara just half a tenth behind.

Aitken completed the session in fourth ahead of Maini, as Maximilian Gunther (BWT Arden) will start tomorrow’s race from sixth on the grid as Charouz Racing System’s Louis Deletraz occupies seventh. Alexander Albon (DAMS) suffered his worst qualifying result of the year in eighth, as de Vries and RUSSIAN TIME’s Tadasuke Makino complete the top ten.

With the two leading title contenders starting from the front row – and with others with ground to make up throughout the race – tomorrow’s Feature Race should be a very close-fought affair, and the Red Bull Ring will, as always, endeavor to provide some excellent racing.

2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship Round 6 – Spielberg, Austria – Provisional Qualifying Classification

Pos

Driver

Team

Time

Laps

1

George Russell

ART Grand Prix

1:13.541

14

2

Lando Norris

Carlin

1:13.779

14

3

Sergio Sette Camara

Carlin

1:13.823

13

4

Jack Aitken

ART Grand Prix

1:13.961

14

5

Arjun Maini

Trident

1:13.999

14

6

Maximilian Gunther

BWT Arden

1:14.014

13

7

Louis Deletraz

Charouz Racing System

1:14.104

14

8

Alexander Albon

DAMS

1:14.115

14

9

Nyck de Vries

PERTAMINA PREMA Theodore Racing

1:14.171

14

10

Tadasuke Makino

RUSSIAN TIME

1:14.201

14

11

Luca Ghiotto

Campos Vexatec Racing

1:14.309

16

12

Roberto Merhi

MP Motorsport

1:14.323

14

13

Antonio Fuoco

Charouz Racing System

1:14.330

14

14

Santino Ferrucci

Trident

1:14.334

14

15

Sean Gelael

PERTAMINA PREMA Theodore Racing

1:14.363

16

16

Ralph Boschung

MP Motorsport

1:14.389

14

17

Nirei Fukuzumi

BWT Arden

1:14.400

14

18

Artem Markelov

RUSSIAN TIME

1:14.589

15

19

Nicholas Latifi

DAMS

1:14.700

14

20

Roy Nissany

Campos Vexatec Racing

1:15.436

16

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