Red Bull Ring F2: Mercedes protege George Russell leads practice

Mercedes Formula 1 junior and Formula 2 title contender George Russell appeared dominant in Red Bull Ring practice for ART Grand Prix

Red Bull Ring F2: Mercedes protege George Russell leads practice

The 20-year-old Russell looked supreme on his way to a 1m14.159s benchmark, with brilliant rotation through the corners in his F2 2018 car - which appeared on rails for most of the session.

He did have one major moment, skipping over kerbs at the fast Turn 9 at the end of the lap when on for an even quicker time.

Alexander Albon, who has three poles in the series this year, was just over a tenth slower and Roberto Merhi finished the session third for his MP Motorsport team.

Sergio Sette Camara had top Carlin driver honours in fourth, while Nyck de Vries - winner of the last race at Paul Ricard - survived two off-track moments to stay within four tenths of a second of pacesetter Russell.

Lando Norris put the second Carlin entry in sixth, ahead of Charouz Racing System and Ferrari Academy driver Antonio Fuoco.

Artem Markelov had no fewer than four visits to the run-off areas on the Red Bull Ring circuit, most notably at Turn 9 where he hit a kerb that launched his car into a wheelie with the front two wheels suspended in the air for what felt like an eternity.

Luckily for the Russian, he tumbled back down to earth with eighth fastest overall.

Just 11 minutes into the 45-minute session, Roy Nissany moved over in front of Jack Aitken too soon on the straight after Turn 1, clipping the ART Grand Prix driver's front right wheel.

The damage to Campos driver Nissany's rear-left meant he wouldn't return to the session, while Aitken could only recover to ninth after a lengthy spell in the pits for repairs.

He had two further moments at the final corners, signifying there is more to come over a single lap from Aitken and his ART-run car.

Arden's Maxi Gunther rounded out the top 10, while his team-mate Nirei Fukuzumi was ruled out of the session early - stopping his car on the grass at the exit of Turn 4 with a mechanical issue with four minutes to go.

F2 secured extra track time for all drivers to attempt two practice starts after clutch control issues affected the cars heavily at Ricard.

DAMS' Nicholas Latifi was the only driver to stall across the practices.

Practice times

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 George Russell ART Grand Prix 1m14.159s - 27
2 Alexander Albon DAMS 1m14.321s 0.162s 25
3 Roberto Merhi MP Motorsport 1m14.418s 0.259s 24
4 Sergio Sette Camara Carlin 1m14.510s 0.351s 26
5 Nyck de Vries Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing 1m14.603s 0.444s 24
6 Lando Norris Carlin 1m14.631s 0.472s 24
7 Antonio Fuoco Charouz Racing System 1m14.649s 0.490s 24
8 Artem Markelov RUSSIAN TIME 1m14.809s 0.650s 21
9 Jack Aitken ART Grand Prix 1m14.838s 0.679s 19
10 Maximilian Guenther BWT Arden 1m14.845s 0.686s 25
11 Santino Ferrucci Trident 1m14.853s 0.694s 28
12 Tadasuke Makino RUSSIAN TIME 1m14.993s 0.834s 21
13 Luca Ghiotto Campos Vexatec Racing 1m15.122s 0.963s 25
14 Nirei Fukuzumi BWT Arden 1m15.318s 1.159s 21
15 Sean Gelael Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing 1m15.359s 1.200s 27
16 Louis Deletraz Charouz Racing System 1m15.401s 1.242s 26
17 Arjun Maini Trident 1m15.488s 1.329s 26
18 Ralph Boschung MP Motorsport 1m15.591s 1.432s 18
19 Nicholas Latifi DAMS 1m15.796s 1.637s 21
20 Roy Nissany Campos Vexatec Racing 1m30.443s 16.284s 5


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