RUSSELL MOVES CLOSER TO F2 TITLE
After what he described as a “horrendous” weekend Lando Norris has been ruled out of the Formula 2 Championship battle, with George Russell taking a 37-point lead into the championship finale over Alexander Albon.
Norris had an awful start to the Sochi feature race last weekend, falling into the lower reaches of the top 10 before the pitstops, although his pace was strong. But during the stop he was given the green light to leave his box despite his front-right wheel not attaching properly. He ground to a halt a few yards from his pitbox and retired as a result.
Starting from the back in the sprint race, Norris lined up in the incorrect place on the formation-lap grid and received a 10-second drivethrough. As Russell won the race, Norris would have needed fastest lap to stay in the hunt. But rain hit halfway through the race and ruined his chances, before Arjun Maini made contact with the Brit and gave him a puncture which forced him to retire once again.
“It’s another DNF, it’s been a horrendous weekend and P1 has gone in the championship,” Norris said. “P2 is still possible, so we’ll see. I’m looking forward to Abu Dhabi, it was my first race last year [in Formula 2] so we’ll try and forget this weekend.”
Albon took a dominant DAMS victory in race one with team-mate Nicholas Latifi just behind. Russell finished fourth but won a tricky sprint race affected by rain on Sunday while Albon was third.
There are 48 points on offer in total at the series finale in Abu Dhabi next month.
“I feel we’re in a good position but anything can happen, we’ve still got to go to Abu Dhabi with the same mindset but we’re in a great position,” said Russell.
Russell is the only one of the top three without a confirmed drive next year, as Albon will switch to Formula E with DAMS and Norris will replace Stoffel Vandoorne at Mclaren.
● After Racing Point Force India junior Nikita Mazepin crashed out of the Sochi sprint race, Anthoine Hubert will take a 32-point lead in the GP3 Series to Abu Dhabi. Leo Pulcini took a first GP3 win in the feature race while David Beckmann passed Joey Mawson for the sprint race victory.