Abu Dhabi: Williams 2019 F1 driver and championship leader George Russell has shown great touch in his title deciding-weekend by topping FIA Formula 2 Championship free practice with a lap of 1:51.720.
Russell, who leads Alexander Albon by a commanding 37 points entering the season finale, clinched the P1 by over a tenth from Antonio Fuoco and Luca Ghiotto.
There was disappointment for Russell’s title challenger Albon as he could only manage a P9.
Albon struggled to put together a quick lap in the early running, with a couple of moments at Turn 14 and Turn 6-7 slowing his forward progress as he had to settle for ninth.
At the start of the session, Lando Norris and Fuoco set early pace and topped the timesheets. However, it didn’t take long for Russel to take firm control over the proceedings by clocking the fastest times. Luca Ghiotto finished the session in third while Nirei Fukuzumi was fourth and both drivers were over 0.5s behind Russell’s time.
Meanwhile, Nikita Mazepin put up a great show for pole position in the GP3 Series qualifying session, thereby denying his title rival and ART Grand Prix teammate Anthoine Hubert with an opportunity to pull away in the points.
Occasional Force India tester Mazepin posted a time of 1:54.885 to beat Campos’ Leonardo Pulcini by just 0.067s at the Yas Marina Circuit.
This weekend marks the final ever GP3 Series round before the championship is replaced by International Formula 3.
Mazepin entered the weekend 31 points adrift of long-time leader and Renault-affiliated youngster Hubert, but that gap has now been reduced to 27 with 44 points still up for grabs.