George Russell clinches 2018 Formula 2 championship


George Russell has been crowned this year's Formula 2 champion after the ART driver claimed victory in an eventful penultimate race of the season in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

"It's been an amazing year," said Russell. "It is a massive relief, to be honest. I think we've really deserved this.

"A lot of things haven't gone our way this year but we've kept fighting - we fought through the hard times."

It was Russell's seventh win of the season, capping a title-winning performance that has been praised by Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff.

"He's an intelligent guy, he's driving fast and I think this is the future," Wolff commented at Abu Dhabi this weekend.

The 2019 Williams F1 driver went into the feature race with a significant 41 point advantage in the points over his nearest rival Alexander Albon.

With only 44 points still available in total this weekend, the matter of the F2 title was effectively decided the second that the lights went out and Albon's car stalled.

Russell meanwhile started from pole position but suffered wheel spin at the start which meant that he lost the lead to Nyck de Vries. However Russell was able to get back around the PREMA driver after the mandatory round of pit stops.

The race ended up being time-capped rather than running the full number of laps after an extended safety car at the start.

That was caused by Albon's DAMS team mate Nicholas Latifi, who also stalled on the grid. In his case, he was then hit by an unsighted driver starting further back which slammed into the rear-right hand side of his stationary car.

The impact was so violent that a shower of debris was sent into the air toward pit lane, causing race director Charlie Whiting to have to duck as a piece of bodywork slammed into his elevated post over the start-finish line.

Qualifying, George Russell (GBR) ART Grand Prix

None of the drivers involved in the accident were injured, and they were able to walk away from the scene.

The prolonged spell under the safety car allowed Albon to get restarted and join the race at the back. He went on to finish the race in 14th place, meaning that Russell had clinched the title.

The British-Thai driver is himself strongly tipped to be joining Russell on the F1 grid next year. He seems likely to take the vacant seat at Toro Rosso alongside Daniel Kvyat.

Further up the order, 2019 McLaren driver Lando Norris finished in fifth for Carlin behind de Vries who lost out on a podium positon after dropping positions to Russian Time's Artem Markelov and Campos driver Luca Ghiotto.

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter