Formula 2 testing: Mercedes F1 reserve Russell leads ART one-two

Mercedes Formula 1 reserve George Russell set the fastest time on the final day of the opening pre-season Formula 2 test at Paul Ricard, ahead of his team-mate Jack Aitken

Formula 2 testing: Mercedes F1 reserve Russell leads ART one-two

The ART Grand Prix pair set the fastest times of the day during the morning running, with Prema Racing's Nyck de Vries completing the top three.

McLaren junior Lando Norris finished the day in eighth place overall, but held onto the fastest overall time of the test, a 1m42.226 that he set on day two.

Russell and Aitken traded the top spot between them during the early running, before the 2017 GP3 champion put in a 1m42.396, which remained unbeaten as the teams switched to race simulations.

Aitken ended up 0.162s adrift, with de Vries 0.363 behind Russell, in a morning session that was interrupted by four red flags.

DAMS driver Alexander Albon set the fastest time in the afternoon session, during which the teams continued to focus on longer running.

Haas F1 development driver Arjun Maini wound up fifth fastest for Trident ahead of Louis Deletraz (Charouz Racing System) and Carlin's Sergio Sette Camara.

Dan Ticktum, the 2017 Macau Grand Prix and McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner who was experiencing his first taste of F2-level machinery in place of Nicholas Latifi at DAMS, set the ninth quickest time of the day.

Maximilian Gunther rounded out the top 10 for Arden International, setting his best time during the afternoon session after bringing out the red flags just after the lunchbreak.

Sean Gelael (Prema) also caused a stoppage late on in the afternoon, after Charouz's Fuoco, Russian Time driver Artem Markelov, Ralph Boschung (MP Motorsport) and Campos' Roy Nissany - 12th, 13th, 16th and 19th overall respectively - had done likewise during the morning running.

Gelael ended up 15th fastest, with Maini's team-mate and fellow Haas junior Santino Ferrucci 18th, while former Manor F1 driver Roberto Merhi brought up the rear of the field for MP.

The second and final F2 pre-season test takes place in Bahrain on March 21-23, with the 2018 season getting underway at the same venue on April 6-8 on the undercard of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Morning times

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 George Russell ART Grand Prix 1m42.396s - 47
2 Jack Aitken ART Grand Prix 1m42.588s 0.192s 56
3 Nyck de Vries Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing 1m42.759s 0.363s 32
4 Alexander Albon DAMS 1m42.925s 0.529s 49
5 Louis Deletraz Charouz Racing System 1m43.239s 0.843s 43
6 Sergio Sette Camara Carlin 1m43.269s 0.873s 25
7 Lando Norris Carlin 1m43.287s 0.891s 29
8 Maximilian Guenther BWT Arden 1m43.350s 0.954s 35
9 Nirei Fukuzumi BWT Arden 1m43.501s 1.105s 28
10 Dan Ticktum DAMS 1m43.503s 1.107s 43
11 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 1m43.575s 1.179s 41
12 Sean Gelael Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing 1m43.731s 1.335s 31
13 Luca Ghiotto Campos Vexatec Racing 1m43.755s 1.359s 30
14 Arjun Maini Trident 1m43.851s 1.455s 40
15 Antonio Fuoco Charouz Racing System 1m43.899s 1.503s 25
16 Ralph Boschung MP Motorsport 1m43.948s 1.552s 26
17 Roy Nissany Campos Vexatec Racing 1m44.048s 1.652s 35
18 Tadasuke Makino RUSSIAN TIME 1m44.164s 1.768s 46
19 Santino Ferrucci Trident 1m44.239s 1.843s 48
20 Roberto Merhi MP Motorsport 1m44.377s 1.981s 49

Afternoon times

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Alexander Albon DAMS 1m42.923s - 35
2 Arjun Maini Trident 1m43.061s 0.138s 36
3 Lando Norris Carlin 1m43.276s 0.353s 39
4 Dan Ticktum DAMS 1m43.310s 0.387s 40
5 Maximilian Guenther BWT Arden 1m43.330s 0.407s 49
6 Louis Deletraz Charouz Racing System 1m43.428s 0.505s 50
7 Antonio Fuoco Charouz Racing System 1m43.572s 0.649s 48
8 Sergio Sette Camara Carlin 1m43.597s 0.674s 36
9 Luca Ghiotto Campos Vexatec Racing 1m43.610s 0.687s 35
10 Tadasuke Makino RUSSIAN TIME 1m43.961s 1.038s 30
11 Santino Ferrucci Trident 1m43.985s 1.062s 13
12 Sean Gelael Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing 1m43.998s 1.075s 46
13 Ralph Boschung MP Motorsport 1m44.163s 1.240s 15
14 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 1m44.250s 1.327s 33
15 George Russell ART Grand Prix 1m44.356s 1.433s 60
16 Nyck de Vries Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing 1m44.742s 1.819s 48
17 Roy Nissany Campos Vexatec Racing 1m44.782s 1.859s 46
18 Nirei Fukuzumi BWT Arden 1m44.844s 1.921s 31
19 Roberto Merhi MP Motorsport 1m44.909s 1.986s 31
20 Jack Aitken ART Grand Prix 1m45.252s 2.329s 26

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Series FIA F2
Drivers George Russell
Author Alex Kalinauckas
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