Sublime George Russell wins F2 Feature Race at French GP
Dry-wet-dry race produces dramatic action at Paul Ricard
By William Esler
Last Updated: 23/06/18 7:01pm
George Russell produced a sublime performance to take victory in an enthralling F2 Feature Race at the French GP.
The race started in the dry, was hit by a rain shower, but then turned dry again and while there was drama behind him, Mercedes junior Russell was masterful in the conditions out front, leading every lap and not making mistakes while on slicks on a wet track.
With championship leader Lando Norris stalling on the grid and losing a lap, Russell has now closed to within seven points of his compatriot.
It could have been even worse for Norris' title ambitions had Artem Markelov not also stalled at the start while Alexander Albon was struck by an engine problem when on course for a podium finish. They are now third and fourth in the championship respectively having been leapfrogged by Russell.
Antonio Fuoco also stalled, this time on the formation lap. One of his Charouz mechanics ran back onto the track to restart him as the cars set off and he was duly handed a 10-second stop/go penalty.
Yet, remarkably, the Ferrari junior driver would recover to finish fifth in a crazy race.
With the drivers all starting on slicks, drops of rain began to fall as the cars lined up on the grid, making conditions treacherous.
There were cars heading in all directions as they struggled for grip and Sean Gelael was one to suffer, spinning out of the race.
However, the track was not wet enough for wet tyres, as Jack Aitken found to his cost with the British driver dropping to 12th at the chequered flag having been forced to pit again for a return to slicks.
The track started to dry around half race distance, but the drama continued right to the final lap with Sette Camara making a lunge at the final turn to try to snatch victory from Russell. But the Briton held on for his third win of the year.
Roberto Merhi completed the podium after gaining 11 places having started 14th on the grid.
WATCH: Drama right to the final corner as @sergiosettecama has a lunge at @GeorgeRussell63 but the @MercedesAMGF1 reserve driver holds on for the win— Sky Sports F1 🏎 (@SkySportsF1) June 23, 2018
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Further down the order the fight was just as intense as Tadasuke Makino passed Nicholas Latifi for eighth and reverse grid pole into Turn Eight, but the Canadian fought back to retake the spot at Turn 10.
The F2 Sprint Race is live from 10:55am on Sky Sports F1 on Sunday morning.