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F2 Sochi: Russell wins sprint race, Norris out of title fight

George Russell ART F2 Sochi 2018

Mercedes Formula 1 junior George Russell won the Sochi Formula 2 sprint race, eliminating future McLaren F1 driver Lando Norris from the championship battle after he failed to score points.

Honda protege Nirei Fukuzumi started on pole and, despite joining a host of drivers leaving the track at Turn 2, he held the lead before an "idiot" move from Alessio Lorandi - as described by Nicholas Latifi - took himself and Latifi off while they fought for a podium spot and brought out the safety car.

Lorandi locked up and ran off at Turn 2 and then repeated the feat at Turn 3, only to plough into the back of Latifi - who was left "pretty pissed off" in a race that was "ours to lose" according to the Canadian.

After the safety car, Russell pounced on Fukuzumi - whose car was sliding around - and moved into the lead.

Sergio Sette Camara, Alexander Albon, Artem Markelov and Nyck de Vries all passed Arden man Fukuzumi before rain arrived just before the halfway mark.

All of the frontrunners pitted at the same time, and worked their way past Antonio Fuoco and Louis Deletraz - who both tried to stay out on soft tyres - quickly after the stops on lap 13 of 21.

Russell was just as supreme in the wet as he was in the dry, extending his lead to over seven seconds at the finish.

He had claimed the DAMS would be tough to beat before the race, but Albon could only manage third after failing to pass Sette Camara late on.

Russell extends his gap over Alex Albon in the championship to 37 points, with 48 left on the table in Abu Dhabi.

Lando Norris Carlin F2 Sochi 2018

Norris retired from the feature race the day before when he was released from his pitstop without his front-right wheel attached and, with Russell winning, needed the two points for fastest lap to keep his title hopes alive - it was clear Norris would not reach the top 10, as he was given a stop/go penalty for lining up in the wrong place on the formation lap.

But Russell set the fastest lap on the fifth tour, and the rain a few laps later meant Norris had no chance.

De Vries passed Markelov for fourth on the penultimate lap after a to and fro battle in the second half of the race, while Roberto Merhi took sixth in his first event with Campos this year, having had a two-round hiatus after leaving MP Motorsport.

Fukuzumi's slump stopped at seventh, while Dorian Boccolacci sealed the top eight.

Fuoco took ninth ahead of second Arden driver Maximilian Gunther.

Result - 21 laps

PosDriverTeamGap
1George RussellART Grand Prix44m46.259s
2Sergio Sette CamaraCarlin7.438s
3Alexander AlbonDAMS8.216s
4Nyck de VriesPertamina Prema Theodore Racing19.132s
5Artem MarkelovRUSSIAN TIME22.258s
6Roberto MerhiCampos Vexatec Racing27.778s
7Nirei FukuzumiBWT Arden30.852s
8Dorian BoccolacciMP Motorsport35.190s
9Antonio FuocoCharouz Racing System39.981s
10Maximilian GuntherBWT Arden47.076s
11Tadasuke MakinoRUSSIAN TIME50.708s
12Sean GelaelPertamina Prema Theodore Racing53.110s
13Louis DeletrazCharouz Racing System53.404s
14Luca GhiottoCampos Vexatec Racing53.553s
15Arjun MainiTrident1m52.002s
-Lando NorrisCarlinRetirement
-Jack AitkenART Grand PrixRetirement
-Niko KariMP MotorsportRetirement
-Nicholas LatifiDAMSRetirement
-Alessio LorandiTridentRetirement

Drivers' standings

PosDriverPoints
1George Russell248
2Alexander Albon211
3Lando Norris197
4Nyck de Vries184
5Artem Markelov166
6Sergio Sette Camara164
7Antonio Fuoco120
8Luca Ghiotto94
9Nicholas Latifi91
10Jack Aitken62


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