Hungary F2: Russell tops practice amid more start trouble
Mercedes Formula 1 junior George Russell topped yet another Formula 2 practice session at the Hungaroring, which concluded with the return of the series' ongoing start problems.
Russell set several benchmarks during the session, his final flying lap of 1m28.886s good enough to take his third straight fastest time in an F2 practice.
The championship had switched to rolling starts behind the safety car for the Red Bull Ring and Silverstone due to “safety reasons” as its F2 2018 car has a tricky-to-operate clutch.
F2 acted between Silverstone and Hungary by bringing software updates and a new clutch basket, giving teams 100kms of testing, which equated to around 10 practice starts per driver in the break.
But in the practice starts at the end of today's session, there was still trouble.
Motorsport.com understands that the teams have been told this weekend which software set-up to use should a rolling start be used. The championship and the FIA will now have a decision to make regarding what method to use to start the race.
McLaren junior Nyck de Vries has had an up and down season, but ultimately continued his strong street circuit form from Monaco and Baku by taking second, 0.3s off Russell.
Sergio Sette Camara took third as the lead Carlin, while Luca Ghiotto (Campos) and Alexander Albon (DAMS) rounded out the top five.
Ralph Boschung of MP was faster than his 12th-placed ex-F1 teammate Roberto Merhi, taking sixth ahead of Nisei Fukuzumi. The Honda junior stalled in the pits during the practice starts.
Lando Norris couldn’t match fellow Carlin driver Sette Camara and took eighth ahead of Russell's ART squadmate Jack Aitken, who won from pole at this circuit in GP3 last year.
Artem Markelov had two lock-ups, and a sideways moment trying to drive around Roy Nissany, all at Turn 1, but ultimately managed to get his Russian Time machine into the top 10.
The session was delayed by an unusual crash for Honda protege and Markelov’s Russian Time teammate Tadasuke Makino. His car speared into the barriers at Turn 3, an unlikely place to crash, with 35 minutes to go in the session.
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