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Nov 24

GP3: Russell strikes back for fourth pole

Champion on top in qualifying, ART top every pole for 2017

Russell strikes back for fourth pole

George Russell pulled out a champion’s drive in this afternoon’s qualifying session at the Yas Marina Circuit: the Briton defied the difficulty of jumping from GP3 to F1 with Force India and back today with a stunning last lap to claim his fourth pole position of the season (and rounding out 2017 by ensuring that ART Grand Prix grabbed every pole of the year) by three tenths from Arden International teammates Leonardo Pulcini and Niko Kari.

The new champion’s best time of 1:54.751 came after the chequered flag had dropped: Russell was the last man in a series of quickest laps to ensure that his rivals realised he will not be taking this weekend easily just because the pressure of the championship is over.

The track opened to hot and sunny conditions, with all of the drivers running straight out to take advantage of the F1 rubber from their recent free practice. Russell, who had helped to lay down some of it, was taking the early part of the session easy as his rivals squabbled over the top spot: Dorian Boccolacci, Arjun Maini and Dan Ticktum all spent time on the top spot before returning to the pits, with Russell staying out one lap later and running green in sector 1 and purple in sector 2 before ominously aborting the lap as he returned to the pits, confident he had more to come.

With 5 minutes remaining the drivers were swapping best times in the various sectors as they warmed their tyres for the push to the flag: Pulcini and then Russell claimed P1 with a few minutes remaining, then pulled back for a slow lap before pushing again on the last tour. Maini ran wide out of the marina section and lost his chance while up front Kari topped the timesheets before being usurped by teammate Pulcini and then Russell as the chequered flag dropped, and the session was over.

Behind the top 3 Ticktum just missed out again for P4, but finished ahead of Maini, Nirei Fukuzumi, Boccolacci (who lost time in sector 2 and missed his chance to shine), Raoul Hyman, Anthoine Hubert and Alessio Lorandi were among the 12 drivers within a second of the top spot, all of whom will be looking to unleash their speed in tomorrow’s Race 1.

Provisional Qualifying Classification

  Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. George RUSSELL ART Grand Prix 1:54.751 12
2. Leonardo PULCINI Arden International 1:55.073 12
3. Niko KARI Arden International 1:55.157 11
4. Daniel TICKTUM DAMS 1:55.289 12
5. Arjun MAINI Jenzer Motorsport 1:55.466 11
6. Nirei FUKUZUMI ART Grand Prix 1:55.484 12
7. Dorian BOCCOLACCI Trident 1:55.533 12
8. Raoul HYMAN Campos Racing 1:55.583 11
9. Anthoine HUBERT ART Grand Prix 1:55.594 12
10. Alessio LORANDI Jenzer Motorsport 1:55.605 12
11. Steijn SCHOTHORST Arden International 1:55.610 12
12. Ryan TVETER Trident 1:55.684 11
13. Tatiana CALDERON DAMS 1:55.772 13
14. Kevin JOERG Trident 1:55.774 12
15. Jack AITKEN ART Grand Prix 1:55.823 12
16. Giuliano ALESI Trident 1:55.909 12
17. Bruno BAPTISTA DAMS 1:56.088 13
18. Marcos SIEBERT Campos Racing 1:56.485 10
19. Juan Manuel CORREA Jenzer Motorsport 1:56.597 12
20. Julien FALCHERO Campos Racing 1:57.015 9

source: GP3 Series, gp3series.com

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