“FIA F3: Russell streaks to Spa victory”
Hitech GP’s George Russell streaked to victory in the second FIA European F3 Championship race of the weekend at Spa-Francorchamps.
Russell headed Motopark’s Joel Eriksson and Mücke’s Mikkel Jensen after 16 laps of the iconic Belgian circuit.
After a solid start, the young Briton was swallowed up on the first run down the Kemmel Straight by Eriksson, Jensen and Hitech teammate Nikita Mazepin.
After a quick move to retake Jensen, luck played into Russell’s hands, as he was then promoted to 2nd at the end of the opening lap when Mazepin’s car came to a halt at the Bus Stop.
Although Eriksson built a reasonable lead of just two seconds early on, Russell drew closer to the Motopark man, before launching an attack on lap five. While not initially successful, Russell eventually passed Eriksson on the following tour as he drafted by his Swedish rival prior to Les Combes.
From there, Russell built a lead of over 7s to claim a well executed victory that draws him back toward the battle for 3rd in the championship with Nick Cassidy (Prema Powerteam) and Callum Ilott (van Amersfoort).
Eriksson struggled for balance as the race aged, but he had enough over Jensen to solidify the podium, while Jensen was not troubled by the battle for 4th behind him.
Anthoine Hubert (van Amersfoort) won that battle for 4th, heading Ilott (5th), Pedro Piquet (6th, van Amersfoort) and Maxi Günther (Prema). It was a fight initially led by Günther, but with the Prema drivers struggling for balance in dry conditions, Günther could only fall back down the order, with the German left to pick up 7th.
Günther’s teammate and championship rival Lance Stroll finished last when a first lap puncture – following a hit from Ukyo Sasahara – took him out of contention. Amidst all this, David Beckmann (Mücke) challenged Piquet for a time, but was forced to pit when a broken front wing dropped him down the order.
Guan Yu Zhou made up for his Race One mistake to take 8th ahead of Ryan Tveter (9th, Carlin) and Niko Kari (10th, Motopark).
Ben Barnicoat (Hitech GP) fought hard to take the final point position from Kari in the latter laps, but repeatedly lost out in the faster sections of the circuit. The Briton could have been in contention for bigger points, but stalled from his 5th on the grid at the beginning of the formation lap.