Abu Dhabi F2: Russell tops practice for title decider

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Abu Dhabi F2: Russell tops practice for title decider
By: Jack Benyon
Nov 23, 2018, 8:36 AM

Future Williams Formula 1 driver George Russell began the title-deciding Formula 2 weekend in Abu Dhabi in perfect fashion as he topped free practice.

Russell didn’t quite hook his opening salvo together in his ART Grand Prix-run car, but managed a 1m51.720s early in the session, as the majority of runners then spent half the 45-minute session testing the soft tyre.

Alexander Albon is the only driver who can stop Russell from winning the title, but struggled to put together a quick lap in the early running, with a couple of moments at Turn 14 and Turn 6-7 slowing his forward progress as he had to settle for ninth.

Also struggling was F2 debutant Dan Ticktum, who replaces Maximilian Gunther at Arden this weekend off the back of a second Macau Grand Prix win last week. He propped up the order, 2.5s off Russell’s fastest time.

His car appeared to drop fluid as he pulled out of the pits at the start of the session.

Behind Russell, Antonio Fuoco’s first flying lap was brilliant, and the Ferrari Academy driver steered his a Charouz-run car to second ahead of Campos driver Luca Ghiotto, the latter still searching for a first win of the season.

Honda protege Nirei Fukuzumi put Arden in the top four, ahead of Sochi polesitter Nyck de Vries, who ran wide at Turn 17 to ruin his follow-up lap for the Prema team.

Roberto Merhi – now with Campos after switching from MP for Sochi – headed new Haas F1 junior Louis Deletraz.

Following Deletraz, McLaren’s 2019 F1 driver Lando Norris took eighth after tumbling from an early session-topper, with Albon and Artem Markelov rounding out the top 10.

Markelov’s car appeared extremely lairy, with a number of off track excursions for the Russian driver likely in the last of his five seasons in the championship.

Practice results:

Pos. # Driver Team Time Gap
1 8 United Kingdom George Russell  France ART Grand Prix 1'51.720  
2 21 Italy Antonio Fuoco  Charouz Racing System 1'51.884 0.164
3 14 Italy Luca Ghiotto  Spain Campos Racing 1'52.315 0.595
4 12 Japan Nirei Fukuzumi  United Kingdom Arden International 1'52.323 0.603
5 4 Netherlands Nyck de Vries  Italy Prema Powerteam 1'52.386 0.666
6 15 Spain Roberto Merhi  Spain Campos Racing 1'52.395 0.675
7 20 Switzerland Louis Deletraz  Charouz Racing System 1'52.518 0.798
8 19 United Kingdom Lando Norris  United Kingdom Carlin 1'52.611 0.891
9 5 Thailand Alexander Albon  France DAMS 1'52.655 0.935
10 1 Russian Federation Artem Markelov  Russian Federation RUSSIAN TIME 1'52.940 1.220
11 7 United Kingdom Jack Aitken  France ART Grand Prix 1'53.012 1.292
12 18 Brazil Sergio Sette Camara  United Kingdom Carlin 1'53.037 1.317
13 17 Italy Alessio Lorandi  Italy Trident 1'53.216 1.496
14 2 Japan Tadasuke Makino  Russian Federation RUSSIAN TIME 1'53.360 1.640
15 3 Indonesia Sean Gelael  Italy Prema Powerteam 1'53.398 1.678
16 16 India Arjun Maini  Italy Trident 1'53.483 1.763
17 6 Canada Nicholas Latifi  France DAMS 1'53.507 1.787
18 10 Finland Niko Kari  Netherlands MP Motorsport 1'53.605 1.885
19 9 France Dorian Boccolacci  Netherlands MP Motorsport 1'53.875 2.155
20 11 United Kingdom Dan Ticktum  United Kingdom Arden International 1'54.317 2.597
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Abu Dhabi F2: Russell edges towards title with pole

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About this article

Series FIA F2
Event Abu Dhabi
Drivers George Russell
Teams ART Grand Prix
Author Jack Benyon