Prema orders to help Stroll ruining European F3, Russell believes

British Formula 3 star George Russell has claimed that team orders apparently favouring Lance Stroll are going to ruin the F3 European Championship

William protege Stroll, whose father Lawrence invests in Prema Powerteam, won the first race of the opening round at Paul Ricard after making an easy pass on team-mate Nick Cassidy as they started the second lap.

Poleman Stroll lost the advantage at the start to Cassidy, but Cassidy locked up at Turn 1, allowing his team-mate back onto his tail.

Cassidy then claimed: "At the last corner I grabbed first gear by accident.

"In the first five laps I was not so confident with the track damp - I just didn't do a clean enough job."

But Russell, who finished third with new team Hitech Grand Prix, countered: "I feel sorry for Nick - to have to give his position up to Lance on the first lap of the first race is bad for the championship.

"He was on the back of Lance throughout the race, and it's a bit of a shame if the championship is going to pan out this way.

"Hitech don't have a way of protecting me like Prema do with Lance.

"It's a shame that you can't get anywhere in this sport without paying for it, while normal guys like myself and Ben Barnicoat [Russell's Hitech team-mate] are trying to compete for the championship.

"Nick can talk about all his mistakes, but it's complete and utter rubbish."

Russell did pay tribute to the Prema team, saying that the Italian squad's set-up was superior and that he could not keep pace.

"I'm not taking anything away from Prema - they had a speed advantage over us," he said.

"But we want a fair fight and it's not a fair fight at the moment."

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