Red Bull Ring GP3: Russell claims maiden pole

Mercedes Formula 1 junior driver George Russell scored his first GP3 pole position as he beat his ART Grand Prix teammate Jack Aitken in qualifying at the Red Bull Ring.

Red Bull Ring GP3: Russell claims maiden pole
George Russell, ART Grand Prix
George Russell, ART Grand Prix
Leonardo Pulcini, Arden International
Jack Aitken, ART Grand Prix
Leonardo Pulcini, Arden International
Leonardo Pulcini, Arden International

Russell, a race winner in the European Formula 3 championship, set a best lap of 1m19.114s as the top five runners all set times within 0.2-seconds of the top spot.

Aitken, who had held provisional pole after the first runs had been completed at the Austrian circuit, could not improve on his final run and the Renault F1 junior driver ended up 0.072s adrift of his fellow British racer.

Dorian Boccolacci finished third for Trident ahead of reigning Euroformula Open champion Leonardo Pulcini and his Arden International teammate Steijn Schothorst.

Giuliano Alesi, son of F1 race winner Jean, made a late improvement to take sixth place just in front of fellow Trident driver Ryan Tveter and ART’s Anthoine Hubert.

Alesi was one of a number of drivers to have off-track moments as the GP3 field found the limit at the short, 10-turn track.

The French driver, who is also a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, skated across the gravel at the exit of the downhill right-hander of Turn 4 as the 30-minute session approached half distance.

He managed to keep his car away from the wall and was able to rejoin via an escape road at the edge of the track.

Red Bull junior driver Niko Kari finished ninth, as Barcelona feature race winner and current championship leader, Nirei Fukuzumi, completed the top 10 in the final ART car.

Jenzer Motorsport pair Alessio Lorandi and Arjun Maini, who won the sprint race last time out in Spai, finished 11th and 12th respectively.

Practice pace-setter Marcos Siebert finished down in 18th place, with Sauber F1 development driver Tatiana Calderon bringing up the rear of the field for DAMS.

Qualifying results

1 united_kingdom George Russell  france ART Grand Prix 1'19.114  
2 united_kingdom Jack Aitken  france ART Grand Prix 1'19.186 0.072
3 france Dorian Boccolacci  italy Trident 1'19.255 0.141
4 italy Leonardo Pulcini  united_kingdom Arden International 1'19.258 0.144
5 netherlands Steijn Schothorst  united_kingdom Arden International 1'19.292 0.178
6 france Giuliano Alesi  italy Trident 1'19.412 0.298
7 united_states Ryan Tveter  italy Trident 1'19.425 0.311
8 france Anthoine Hubert  france ART Grand Prix 1'19.440 0.326
9 finland Niko Kari  united_kingdom Arden International 1'19.479 0.365
10 japan Nirei Fukuzumi  france ART Grand Prix 1'19.484 0.370
11 italy Alessio Lorandi  switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 1'19.493 0.379
12 india Arjun Maini  switzerland Jenzer Motorsport 1'19.530 0.416
13 south_africa Raoul Hyman  spain Campos Racing 1'19.561 0.447
14 france Julien Falchero  spain Campos Racing 1'19.596 0.482
15 switzerland Kevin Jörg  italy Trident 1'19.680 0.566
16 brazil Bruno Baptista  france DAMS 1'19.778 0.664
17 united_states Santino Ferrucci  france DAMS 1'19.789 0.675
18 argentina Marcos Siebert  spain Campos Racing 1'19.832 0.718
19 colombia Tatiana Calderon  france DAMS 1'19.872 0.758
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