Russell Edges Closer To F2 Title With Pole Position For Abu Dhabi Feature Race

by Aaron Gillard
Russell - F2 - Pole - Abu Dhabi

FIA Formula 2 Championship leader George Russell secures pole position for the Feature Race at the Yas Marina Circuit, increasing his championship lead to title rival Alexander Albon to 41 points.

The ART Grand Prix driver went fastest overall with a 1m49.251 and beats second place driver Nyck de Vries to claim his fifth pole position on the season. The British driver is in prime position to win the F2 championship tomorrow as Albon ended qualifying in eighth place.

DAMSNicholas Latifi placed himself in third, having ran during the middle stage of qualifying with a clean track. He shares the second row with Russian Time‘s Artem Markelov. Russell’s ART team-mate Jack Aitken captured fifth place ahead of Louis Delétraz and Lando Norris.

Albon attempted to push to improve his time in the final moments of qualifying, but went wide at the final sector which cost him valuable time. He will start the Feature race from eighth place as he will try and keep his title hopes alive.

Tadasuke Makino managed to capture ninth place ahead of Carlin Motorsport‘s Sérgio Sette Câmara, who rounds off the top ten.

Dan Ticktum in his first qualifying session is F2 managed to secure himself fourteenth place on the grid for tomorrow’s race with BWT Arden.

The qualifying session began with Norris leading away a queue of cars to the Yas Marina Circuit.  After completing their outlap and warm up lap, the Carlin driver set the first lap with a 1m50.766. Russell immediately beaten the Carlin drivers’ time with a 1m49.875 with title rival Albon placing himself in second on his first lap.

Makino’s lap was blocked at the first chicane by Luca Ghiotto in the Campos Vexatec Racing car. Makino was furious over the radio about the Italian driver blocking his lap after producing a strong first sector. The Japanese driver attempted a second lap and placed himself fourth overall in first proper lap. Norris re-claimed fourth place back in his second push lap in the session, improving into a time of a 1m50.374.

By the halfway stage of qualifying, Russell remains in the lead ahead of title rival Albon. Markelov in the Russian Time placed himself in third ahead Norris and Makino. Latifi, Arjun Maini and de Vries started their laps on an empty race track where the rest of the field come into the pits for a new set of tyres. After producing a purple second sector, Latifi went fastest overall before de Vries went top of the time sheets with a 1m49.629, 0.018 seconds faster than the Canadian driver.

Despite going fastest, de Vries reported in on the radio that his quick time will not be enough for pole position, with Prema replying that they believe two more laps will need to be done with ten minutes of the session remaining. Antonio Fuoco in the Charouz Racing System had body work being removed from his car as his team inspect his engine just as the rest of the field started to leave the pits for their final attempt in qualifying. Italian was able to get back out on track in time to set a lap.

In the final runs of qualifying, Albon attempted to improve on his time but pushed too hard at the penultimate corner, going wide in the corner and failed to improve his time. Russell managed to set the fastest time with a 1m49.251, beating de Vries’ time set in the middle of the session. The Dutch driver couldn’t improve his time and remained in second place whilst Norris jumped up to seventh place.

Russell was able to retain pole position and secure four points, increasing the gap between him and Albon to 41. With Albon down in eighth place, the Thai-Anglo driver will need to push his way up the order to have a chance of keeping the title fight going into Sunday’s Sprint race.

18George RussellGBRART Grand Prix1:49.251
24Nyck de VriesNEDPertamina Prema Theodore Racing0.290
36Nicholas LatifiCANDAMS0.396
41Artem MarkelovRUSRussian Time0.618
57Jack AitkenGBRART Grand Prix0.695
620Louis DeletrazSUICharouz Racing System0.787
719Lando NorrisGBRCarlin Motorsport0.808
85Alexander AlbonTHADAMS0.904
92Tadasuke MakinoJPNRussian Time0.929
1018Sergio Sette CamaraBRZCarlin Motorsport0.936
1110Niko KariFINMP Motorsport1.124
1215Roberto MerhiESPCampos Vexatec Racing1.262
1321Antonio FuocoITACharouz Racing System1.271
1411Dan TicktumGBRBWT Arden1.329
153Sean GelaelINOPertamina Prema Theodore Racing1.561
1617Alessio LorandiITATrident1.604
1714Luca GhiottoITACampos Vexatec Racing1.641
189Dorian BoccalacciFRAMP Motorsport1.786
1912Nirei FukuzumiJPNBWT Arden1.797
2016Arjun MainiINDTrident2.346

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