George Russell wins second Pau European Formula 3 race for Hitech

George Russell finally broke his 2016 duck with victory in a pulsating second Formula 3 European Championship race of the Pau Grand Prix round

George Russell wins second Pau European Formula 3 race for Hitech

For the first time of the weekend, the track was dry enough to fit slicks.

But with Russell's fellow front-row man Callum Ilott and all those behind Ilott on the off-line slippery side of the track, it was an easy task for Russell to convert his pole into the race lead.

He then had to survive two safety-car periods, but was able to build a 2.9-second gap over race-long second-placed man Sergio Sette Camara over the final three-lap sprint to take the second win of the weekend for the Hitech Grand Prix squad.

Sette Camara and Alessio Lorandi, who were behind Russell on the dry side of the track at the start, immediately moved into second and third, with Ilott and fellow wet-side starter Lance Stroll fourth and fifth.

Pau GP poleman Lorandi was putting the Motopark-run Red Bull-backed car of Sette Camara under pressure for second when, on the eighth lap, he got out of shape exiting the final chicane and glanced the barrier, puncturing his left-rear tyre.

Several laps later, the first safety car eradicated Russell's two-second advantage - it was called after Pedro Piquet, running 10th, hit the barriers at Parc Beaumont.

There were four more laps of race action before Harrison Newey plunged into the wall at the tight Pont Oscar turn, causing the second neutralisation.

Sette Camara, Ilott, Stroll and Hitech's first-race winner Ben Barnicoat then ran tight to the finish in second to fifth positions.

"We've had an unbelievable amount of bad luck this year so we had a bit of a point to prove," said Russell.

"Everything went perfect - I made the best start possible and put my foot down.

"We're more than capable of going out to fight for the championship."

Prema driver Ralf Aron took sixth, while VAR's Anthoine Hubert grabbed seventh off the Mucke Motorsport car of Mikkel Jensen with an audacious pass at the Lycee hairpin.

Joel Eriksson and Arjun Maini completed the top 10 - the first point of the season for T-Sport driver Maini.

It was a sorry event for the pre-race championship top two.

Second-placed Nick Cassidy was holding off Aron for seventh after three laps when he was forced into the pits with a puncture, while points leader Maximilian Gunther rose from his qualifying-crash-enforced lowly start to 11th before he sustained front-wing damage in a midfield incident and pitted.

Gunther still leads the points, but Stroll is now just five behind and Barnicoat a further five adrift, with eight drivers within a race win of the championship lead.

RESULTS - 25 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 George Russell Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 34m18.884s
2 Sergio Sette Camara Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 2.889s
3 Callum Ilott Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 3.494s
4 Lance Stroll Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 4.471s
5 Ben Barnicoat Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 5.066s
6 Ralf Aron Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 6.024s
7 Anthoine Hubert Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes 6.623s
8 Mikkel Jensen kfzteile Mucke Motorsport Dallara/Mercedes 7.696s
9 Joel Eriksson Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 9.903s
10 Arjun Maini ThreeBond with T-Sport Dallara/NBE 10.105s
11 Niko Kari Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen 11.174s
12 Zhi Cong Li Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 12.952s
13 Nikita Mazepin Hitech GP Dallara/Mercedes 13.404s
14 Maximilian Guenther Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 1 Lap
15 Alessio Lorandi Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen 1 Lap
16 Nick Cassidy Prema Powerteam Dallara/Mercedes 1 Lap
- David Beckmann kfzteile Mucke Motorsport Dallara/Mercedes Retirement
- Harrison Newey Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes Retirement
- Pedro Piquet Van Amersfoort Racing Dallara/Mercedes Retirement
- Guanyu Zhou Motopark Dallara/Volkswagen Retirement
- Ryan Tveter Carlin Dallara/Volkswagen Retirement


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