Monza F2: Mercedes' George Russell extends lead with win

Mercedes Formula 1 junior George Russell took a crucial Formula 2 sprint race victory at Monza, as his title rival Lando Norris could only manage fifth

Nicholas Latifi - the last sprint winner at Spa - got a brilliant start to lead from fourth on the grid as Russell moved up to second from fifth.

Russell appeared ready to take the lead and challenged Latifi into the Rettifilo chicane approaching one-quarter distance.

But despite completing the move he braked too late and locked up, leaping the sausage curbs on the inside of the first turn.

That allowed Latifi back past and then one lap later, Artem Markelov passed Latifi for the lead.

But after Russell had despatched Latifi near the halfway point, he set about reeling in Markelov.

Then Markelov - not yet under any pressure from Russell - locked up at the first corner and had to use the escape road, which allowed Russell to catch and pass at the Curva Grande in a committed move.

It was then a case of holding the gap ahead of Markelov, edging away from DRS range to seal a brilliant win.

Norris was swamped in the first chicane at the start and ended the lap eighth, but worked past a number of drivers quickly.

After passing Ghiotto for sixth on lap six of 21, Norris erased a 2.3-second deficit to Alexander Albon to take fifth. The move was made easier as Albon hit gearbox trouble on the lap Norris got past.

But despite closing to within a second, he couldn't pass Latifi for a second race in a row, and now trails Russell by 22 points in the championship.

Norris's Carlin team-mate Sergio Sette Camara took third after pushing Markelov late-on. A lock-up and a trip into the Rettifilo run-off ended Sette Camara's chances.

It was still an excellent weekend from the Brazilian. A mechanical issue meant he had to start from the pits in the feature race, where he drove back to seventh, and he lost spots from second at the start in the Sunday sprint.

He was arguably the fastest driver in both races and scored the podium ahead of Latifi and Norris.

Ghiotto took sixth at his home event, while Dorian Boccolacci ended a torrid run of problems over his first two F2 weekends with MP Motorsport in seventh.

Jack Aitken took the last point after he rebounded brilliantly from a puncture in Saturday's feature.

Arjun Maini and Antonio Fuoco - from the pitlane after a disqualification - rounded out the top 10.

Sprint race result

Pos Driver Team Laps Gap
1 George Russell ART Grand Prix 21 33m31.886s
2 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 21 1.056s
3 Sergio Sette Camara Carlin 21 4.347s
4 Nicholas Latifi DAMS 21 5.651s
5 Lando Norris Carlin 21 6.174s
6 Luca Ghiotto Campos Vexatec Racing 21 17.452s
7 Dorian Boccolacci MP Motorsport 21 20.751s
8 Jack Aitken ART Grand Prix 21 24.216s
9 Arjun Maini Trident 21 25.188s
10 Antonio Fuoco Charouz Racing System 21 28.453s
11 Louis Deletraz Charouz Racing System 21 31.875s
12 Alessio Lorandi Trident 21 34.792s
13 Nirei Fukuzumi BWT Arden 21 38.322s
14 Tadasuke Makino RUSSIAN TIME 21 1m04.378s
15 Roy Nissany Campos Vexatec Racing 21 1m17.780s
16 Maximilian Guenther BWT Arden 21 1m18.848s
17 Nyck de Vries Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing 20 1 Lap
- Alexander Albon DAMS 16 Retirement
- Ralph Boschung MP Motorsport 4 Retirement
- Sean Gelael Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing 3 Retirement

Drivers' standings

Pos Driver Points
1 George Russell 219
2 Lando Norris 197
3 Alexander Albon 176
4 Artem Markelov 160
5 Nyck de Vries 155
6 Sergio Sette Camara 142
7 Antonio Fuoco 112
8 Luca Ghiotto 94
9 Nicholas Latifi 73
10 Jack Aitken 62
11 Louis Deletraz 62
12 Tadasuke Makino 45
13 Maximilian Guenther 41
14 Roberto Merhi 41
15 Sean Gelael 29
16 Arjun Maini 24
17 Ralph Boschung 17
18 Nirei Fukuzumi 11
19 Santino Ferrucci 7
20 Dorian Boccolacci 2
21 Roy Nissany 1
22 Alessio Lorandi 0

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