Russell dominates qualifying to snatch pole in Austria

George Russell, Paul Ricard 2018
Second consecutive pole for the ART driver

Just like in practice, George Russell proves to be fastest around the Red Bull Ring.

Even before the session started, drivers fought for track position already. Championship leader Lando Norris was the first to emerge from the pits, followed by the entire grid bar Arjun Maini, who needed some extra moments before hitting the track as well.

After three warm-up laps, the first set of flying laps began. George Russell showed his skills again by setting the fastest lap, just ahead of Norris’ teammate Sergio Sette Camara. The Carlin driver was just 23 thousands of a second slower than Russell and clearly stayed ahead of Norris, who came third. Arjun Maini could be found in P4, while qualifying expert Alexander Albon, who hasn’t finished outside the top 3 on Friday afternoon so far, went off at turn 4 and couldn’t set a perfect lap.

Just moments later, the Carlins posted personal bests but were immediately outshined by the ART of Russell: The Briton improved his own provisional pole time to be the first to set a time below 1:14. On the other side of the timesheet, Albon could be found in P14, Roberto Merhi who came third in practice today was 16th and Albon’s teammate Latifi 17th.

Five minutes later, the drivers had finished a short discussion with their engineers and returned to the track for a final set of flying laps.

Jack Aitken improved visibly and grabbed a provisional P2 but again Russell stole the show and found another 3.5 tenths to cement his position. Norris came home second, Camara finished third. Artem Markelov couldn’t handle his machinery and was airborne for the second time today. A minute later, Markelov missed another corner. The Russian didn’t improve and was therefore classified in P18.

The Carlins are sandwiched by the ARTs as Jack Aitken finished in P4. Maini can be delighted by his personal best qualifying (P5), as well as Maximilian Günther – the Austro-German grabbed P6. Finishing in P8 and P19, the qualifying turned out to be rather disappointing for DAMS.

While hardly anyone else improved in the last moments of the session, Russell showed a final piece of dominance, improved by another 3 hundredths and gained four points for his pole position.  Phenomenally, the first 17 drivers posted a lap time within a second, which showed again the level of competition in F2.

Qualifying Results

Pos. Driver Team Fastest lap Gap
1 George Russell ART 1:13.541
2 Lando Norris Carlin 1:13.779 +0.238
3 Sergio Sette Camara Carlin 1:13.823 +0.282
4 Jack Aitken ART 1:13.961 +0.420
5 Arjun Maini Trident 1:13.999 +0.458
6 Maximilian Günther Arden 1:14.014 +0.473
7 Louis Deletraz Charouz 1:14.104 +0.563
8 Alexander Albon DAMS 1:14.115 +0.574
9 Nyck de Vries Prema 1:14.171 +0.630
10 Tadasuke Makino Russian Time 1:14.201 +0.660
11 Luca Ghiotto Campos 1:14.309 +0.768
12 Roberto Merhi MP Motorsport 1:14.323 +0.782
13 Antonio Fuoco Charouz 1:14.330 +0.789
14 Santino Ferrucci Trident 1:14.334 +0.793
15 Sean Gelael Prema 1:14.363 +0.822
16 Ralph Boschung MP Motorsport 1:14.389 +0.848
17 Nirei Fukuzumi Arden 1:14.400 +0.859
18 Artem Markelov Russian Time 1:14.589 +1.048
19 Nicholas Latifi DAMS 1:14.700 +1.159
20 Roy Nissany Campos 1:15.436 +1.895

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