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May 19, 2014 - 06:52 AM
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Russell Wins Again At Brands
Posted by: newsla on May 19, 2014 - 06:50 AM
Support Series News
Russell Wins Again At Brands


George Russell takes dramatic win to stretch BRDC Formula 4 series lead

George Russell consolidated his BRDC Formula 4 Championship lead with his third win of the year after an opportunist drive on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit.

 

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The 16-year-old car-racing rookie was fifth on the opening lap, but methodically worked his way through the incidents ahead to take the lead third time around and calmly held the advantage to the end of the 14 laps.

That performance in the final race of the weekend came after fourth and third-place finishes for the Wisbech driver in the first two races.

The Lanan Racing star had never driven the Brands Hatch GP Circuit, regarded as Britain’s most challenging, until a track day on Thursday when he did a few laps in a Caterham sports car.

Nevertheless, he took fourth spot in qualifying, despite a spin at the banked Stirlings left-hander on one of his quick laps, and putting two wheels on the grass at the ultra-fast Westfield bend on another attempt at a fast time.

In a processional opening race, Russell held fourth place throughout. He initially pressured Will Palmer before dropping back and then hounding him again for the rest of the race.

“I was on the back of Palmer at the start,” said George, “but I didn’t have enough of a pace advantage to make a move. So I chilled out a little bit in the middle of the race to save the tyres, and then I tried to push to get a good lap time, because best laps from races one and two decide the grid for race three.”

That proved a good strategy, as Russell took the third fastest lap, and the second race took place in the midday heat on Sunday, conditions that provide less grip and slow the cars.

From fifth on the grid (with the top eight from race one starting in reverse order), George maintained his position at the beginning of race two in a chaotic start. Numerous drivers crept forward before the lights went out, only to stop and then restart.

A few laps into the race, Russell took fourth place with a clean move on team-mate Struan Moore into Clearways, and then he moved up to third when Sennan Fielding spun at Stirlings.

“The race was quite difficult,” he said. “There was a lot of battling in front so I was trying to pounce on them when they made a mistake, and that happened when Struan ran wide at Stirlings and I was able to get him at the next corner. I managed to get a podium, so it was a good result.”

A good result that was bettered later on. A slow start on the tricky Brands camber dropped George to fifth, but on the second lap he took advantage of an incident between Moore and Palmer to move up to third. Then, on the third lap, team-mate Arjun Maini and Raoul Hyman slowed themselves up at Graham Hill Bend in their battle for the lead, allowing Russell to slice past both in one move and into the lead.

He instantly pulled out a good gap, but found Fielding chipping away at his advantage as the race wore on. But he held on to win by four tenths of a second, ecstatically receiving his winner’s trophy from GP2 Series leader Jolyon Palmer.

“I got a terrible start,” said Russell. “But the guys at the front didn’t seem too fast and everyone bunched up, so I knew something would happen. I didn’t really have to do too much to get into the lead! But I’m sure I could have had a go if it hadn’t been for the incidents because my speed was better than before.

“The pace wasn’t too good in races one and two so to come away with a win in race three is great, because we’ve made the best of what we had.

“Brands Hatch is a really good track – I love it and can’t wait to come back here later in the season, and I’m happy to be on top of the points after a tough weekend.”

The next BRDC F4 round is on 21st/22nd June at Snetterton in Norfolk, but before then George will bid to improve on his third place in the Formula Renault ALPS series at the Red Bull Ring in Austria next weekend (24th/25th May) and at the legendary Spa circuit in Belgium (7th/8th June).


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