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Russell heads Albon in F2 Red Bull Ring practice

by Peter Allen

Photo: Zak Mauger / FIA Formula 2

George Russell led the way in Formula 2 free practice at the Red Bull Ring.

ART Grand Prix driver Russell topped the session with a 1m14.159s lap set inside the first third of the 45 minutes of running.

Alex Albon, whose run of three straight pole positions was broken by Russell at Paul Ricard one week ago, went second shortly afterwards for DAMS, 0.162 seconds adrift.

Roberto Merhi ended up third quickest, followed by Sergio Sette Camara, Paul Ricard sprint race winner Nyck de Vries and the championship leader Lando Norris.

Antonio Fuoco went seventh at the end of the session, ahead of Artem Markelov, who at one stage went flying over the raised kerbs exiting Turn 9, sending the nose of his car up into the air.

Jack Aitken took ninth after a bizarre incident just 10 minutes in with Roy Nissany.

Nissany appeared to move over on Aitken as they exited Turn 1, leading to heavy contact and forcing both cars back to the pits.

While Nissany was unable to rejoin, having failed to post a representative lap time, Aitken did return to get himself up to ninth, with Maximilian Gunther rounding out the top 10.

Gunther’s Arden team-mate Nirei Fukuzumi, who was 14th fastest, came to a halt by the side of the track exiting Turn 4 with five minutes remaining, causing a full course yellow while his car was retrieved.

At the end of the session, drivers were allowed to carry out two practice starts on the grid in a bid to help them overcome the clutch issues that have affected them throughout the season so far.

Originally, an extra 15-minute session was planned for first thing Friday morning for that purpose, but this was shelved in favour of doing the starts at the end of the regular, when it was felt conditions would be more representative.


Free practice results
Pos Name Team Time
1 George Russell ART Grand Prix 1m14.159s
2 Alexander Albon DAMS +0.162s
3 Roberto Merhi MP Motorsport +0.259s
4 Sergio Sette Camara Carlin +0.351s
5 Nyck de Vries Prema +0.444s
6 Lando Norris Carlin +0.472s
7 Antonio Fuoco Charouz Racing System +0.490s
8 Artem Markelov Russian Time +0.650s
9 Jack Aitken ART Grand Prix +0.679s
10 Maximilian Gunther Arden International +0.686s
11 Santino Ferrucci Trident +0.694s
12 Tadasuke Makino Russian Time +0.834s
13 Luca Ghiotto Campos Racing +0.963s
14 Nirei Fukuzumi Arden International +1.159s
15 Sean Gelael Prema +1.200s
16 Louis Deletraz Charouz Racing System +1.242s
17 Arjun Maini Trident +1.329s
18 Ralph Boschung MP Motorsport +1.432s
19 Nicholas Latifi DAMS +1.637s
20 Roy Nissany Campos Racing +16.284s