George Russell revels in finally taking F2 points lead

Mercedes-backed George Russell revelled in capturing the Formula 2 points lead for the first time this season following a standout weekend in Austria.

Russell followed up pole position with his fourth victory of the year in the Feature Race, and surged from eighth on the grid to second in Sunday’s Sprint encounter.

Combined with title rival Lando Norris slipping to 11th, it ensured Russell prised away the title lead from his compatriot for the first time in 2018.

Russell now holds a 10-point advantage over Norris as they head to their home round at Silverstone this weekend.

“We’ve only just taken the lead in the championship,” said Russell. “I feel it’s probably a few rounds too late.

“We had unbelievable pace in Paul Ricard and we potentially could have scored another podium without the issue in Race 2.

“Myself and Nyck de Vries had the unfortunate incident in Baku Race 1 which again we clearly had the pace where we could have scored an extra 27 points.

“So far this season although we’ve got four wins, I feel like there’s been quite a lot of podiums and victories taken away from us, not purely from reliability, but also from other factors.

“I’m in a good place at the moment, feeling confident, and people are starting to realise that there’s not only one great young driver coming through.

“It’s an extremely competitive field and it’s proven to everyone how competitive Formula 2 is.”

Russell believes that going head-to-head with Norris – who is in the frame for a 2019 McLaren Formula 1 seat – can only serve to enhance his own reputation.

“I was excited to race Lando this year and obviously there was a lot of hype around him and I wanted to prove myself that I am one of the best, and I am going to force my way to try and get into Formula 1,” he said.

“And if everyone believes that he is one of the best young drivers out there, who better to put myself against?”