RUS­SELL MOVES CLOSER TO F2 TI­TLE

Motor Sport News - - News -

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.

Pho­tos: LAT

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