ART Grand Prix‘s George Russell clinches victory in a dramatic dry to wet sprint race around the Sochi Autodrom, placing one hand on the FIA Formula 2 title.
Russell controlled the race in both conditions as he claims his sixth win of the season and builds a healthy gap in the championship to Alexander Albon.
Carlin Motorsport‘s Sérgio Sette Câmara managed to hold back the pressure from the DAMS of Albon to finish in second. The Anglo-Thai driver finished in third but it was enough keep him in the championship fight going into the final round in Abu Dhabi.
Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing‘s Nyck de Vries passed Artem Markelov on the penultimate lap to capture fouth place. Roberto Merhi in the Campos Vexatec Racing claimed sixth place ahead of reserve grid pole sitter Nirei Fukuzumi. MP Motorsport‘s Dorian Boccolacci rounds of the points table with eighth place.
Lando Norris‘ weekend went from bad to worse as he retired from the race, ruling him out of the championship fight going into the final round.
Fukuzumi battled with Antonio Fuoco down the run towards Turn 2. The Japanese driver went off the track along with multiple cars. Alessio Lorandi lost second place to Nicholas Latifi at the start after Turn 4, but the Italian driver crash into the back of the DAMS driver at Turn 5, causing a safety car.
After the safety car, Fukuzumi led away the field with Russell, Sette Câmara and Fuoco following behind. Russell passed the Japanese driver for the lead of the race on Lap 5 in the run down towards Turn 2 with the help of DRS.
Norris was handed a ten second stop and go penalty for failing to get into position on the formation lap. The Carlin driver was slow off the line and failed to return to the correct position before the first safety car line.
Niko Kari crashed out of the race as rain started to build up around the circuit. Jack Aitken spun at the exit of Turn 7 and stalled his car, left stranded in the middle of the circuit. The Virtual Safety Car was called as they cleared the ART car.
Norris was the first driver to gamble on the wet tyres as the VSC ended, with the front runners of Russell, Sette Câmara, Albon, Markelov and de Vries pitting in. Both Charouz Racing System cars stayed out but Fuoco struggled to stay on track whilst the drivers on the wet tyres caught up. Russell took over the lead away from the Charouz as both drivers started to lose places on a wet track.
Norris suffered a puncture after he made contact with Trident‘s Arjun Maini. The Brit ended his torrid weekend with retirement by pulling off the track. The incident rules him out of the championship going into the final round in Abu Dhabi.
Russell was able to produce a clean race and capture win number six of the season and the fastest lap, pushing the gap between him and Albon to 37 points going into the final round. Russell can clinch the title with a podium in the feature race in Abu Dhabi, regardless of Albon’s result.