George Russell left the Autodromo Nazionale Monza with an extended championship lead, but the British racer felt there was potential for even better results across the tenth round of the 2018 FIA Formula 2 championship season.
The ART Grand Prix driver started the weekend in Italy well to claim pole position but could only convert that to a fourth-place finish in the Feature race, although he more than made amends by claiming the Sprint race win on Sunday to extend his advantage over Lando Norris to twenty-two-points with two rounds remaining.
After being disappointed with his performance on Saturday, Russell was pleased to respond with the Sprint race victory, overcoming the challenge of Artem Markelov in what he felt was a tricky race in low-grip conditions.
“To be honest I think it could have been better,” said Russell of his weekend in the post-race press conference. “I was quite disappointed with myself yesterday and I felt like I’d handed what I thought was a victory to Artem, I battled with him and Alex but I had a small issue with the brakes, and small problems can cause big problems as I wasn’t able to come back at him later in the race.
“We potentially lost a victory, or P2, yesterday and so I wanted to put it right today, and I was pleased to regain the position today: obviously I inherited it a bit after a small mistake by Artem, but earlier when I went for the lead I made a mistake too, so it was a tricky race.
“Very low downforce, high fuel loads, cold and greasy conditions: it wasn’t easy for everyone today, but at the end of the day we’ve extended the championship lead and I’m happy with the win today.”
Russell worked hard to break away from Markelov so the Russian could not use his Drag Reduction System, but as soon as he had extended his lead beyond one second, he knew he had the race in the bag.
“I was confident when I broke Artem’s DRS: it’s so difficult on this circuit where you pull a gap of almost one second but he’d just catch it and then the DRS come in, and we were just yo-yoing for seven laps or so,” said Russell.
“But I finally did 1 really good lap where I just broke the one second gap and I could start to pull away a bit, and then I knew I had it.”