Abu Dhabi F2: Russell edges towards title with pole

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Abu Dhabi F2: Russell edges towards title with pole
By: Jack Benyon
Nov 23, 2018, 3:51 PM

George Russell took a step closer to the Formula 2 title by taking pole position in Abu Dhabi on his final race weekend before he joins Williams in Formula 1. 

ART Grand Prix driver Russell takes four championship points for his fifth pole of his rookie F2 campaign, extending his lead over his only title rival Alexander Albon. 

The latter – the favourite for a Toro Rosso F1 seat next year – now trails by 41 points as he could only manage eighth in qualifying, meaning Russell only needs eighth to take the title in Saturday’s feature race. 

Prema’s Nyck de Vries ran in the mid-session gap where drivers usually regroup in the pits and took provisional pole, while Albon’s DAMS teammate Nicholas Latifi followed a similar strategy and moved into second.

But Russell’s 1m49.251s gave him a two-tenth cusion over de Vries and Latifi, as the latter was told to abort his last lap with an undiagnosed issue.

Artem Markelov took fourth – improving his Russian Time machine’s woeful handling from practice – while Russell’s ART teammate Jack Aitken rounded out the top five in his best qualifying since Budapest in July.

Recently announced Haas F1 junior driver Louis Deletraz was sixth, ahead of the McLaren-bound Lando Norris. 

Behind Albon, Tadasuke Makino (Russian Time) and Norris’s teammate and now fellow McLaren junior Sergio Sette Camara completed the top 10.

Makino showed strong pace throughout the session and was baulked by the errant car of Campos driver Luca Ghiotto early on, but recovered to set a respectable late lap. 

Red Bull F1 junior Dan Ticktum out-qualified Arden teammate and potential future Super Formula rival Nirei Fukuzumi by 0.4s in his first ever F2 qualifying session, going 14th quickest.

Qualifying results:

Pos. # Driver Team Time Gap
1 8 United Kingdom George Russell  France ART Grand Prix 1'49.251  
2 4 Netherlands Nyck de Vries  Italy Prema Powerteam 1'49.541 0.290
3 6 Canada Nicholas Latifi  France DAMS 1'49.647 0.396
4 1 Russian Federation Artem Markelov  Russian Federation RUSSIAN TIME 1'49.869 0.618
5 7 United Kingdom Jack Aitken  France ART Grand Prix 1'49.946 0.695
6 20 Switzerland Louis Deletraz  Charouz Racing System 1'50.038 0.787
7 19 United Kingdom Lando Norris  United Kingdom Carlin 1'50.059 0.808
8 5 Thailand Alexander Albon  France DAMS 1'50.155 0.904
9 2 Japan Tadasuke Makino  Russian Federation RUSSIAN TIME 1'50.180 0.929
10 18 Brazil Sergio Sette Camara  United Kingdom Carlin 1'50.187 0.936
11 10 Finland Niko Kari  Netherlands MP Motorsport 1'50.375 1.124
12 15 Spain Roberto Merhi  Spain Campos Racing 1'50.513 1.262
13 21 Italy Antonio Fuoco  Charouz Racing System 1'50.522 1.271
14 11 United Kingdom Dan Ticktum  United Kingdom Arden International 1'50.580 1.329
15 3 Indonesia Sean Gelael  Italy Prema Powerteam 1'50.812 1.561
16 17 Italy Alessio Lorandi  Italy Trident 1'50.855 1.604
17 14 Italy Luca Ghiotto  Spain Campos Racing 1'50.892 1.641
18 9 France Dorian Boccolacci  Netherlands MP Motorsport 1'51.037 1.786
19 12 Japan Nirei Fukuzumi  United Kingdom Arden International 1'51.048 1.797
20 16 India Arjun Maini  Italy Trident 1'51.597 2.346
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About this article

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