Briton holds on for pole in rain affected session


George Russell has nabbed pole position in a wet/dry qualifying session at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, grabbing the top spot late in a tricky session which saw little rain but ran on a wet circuit throughout, to finish almost three tenths ahead of teammate Nirei Fukuzumi and Arjun Maini.


The Briton stopped the clocks on 2:27.042 with 3 minutes remaining in a session which was drying late on, but not quite enough to switch to slicks: as a result his rivals had little left in their tyres to push ahead in the closing minutes.


The track opened to warm but damp conditions, with most of a previous rain storm blowing over as all of the field emerged on track as the lights went green. The times were soon tumbling as Alessio Lorandi, Jack Aitken, Dorian Boccolacci and Russell ran quicker each time around to top the timesheets, with the Mercedes F1 junior driver going purple on the first 2 sectors before following his rivals into the pits for fresh rubber at the halfway mark.


Lorandi, Steijn Schothorst and Boccolacci were all improving, swapping P2 between themselves behind Russell, until Maini grabbed the top spot with 4 minutes remaining: unfortunately for the Haas junior driver first Russell and then Fukuzumi improved on his time as the clock wound down, setting up another ART front row for tomorrow’s Race 1.


Aitken will be disappointed to finish just outside of the top 3, ahead of an impressive lap from Matthieu Vaxivière, Boccolacci, Ryan Tveter and Schothorst, all of whom will be looking for better luck with the weather to try and peg back some of the gap up to Russell tomorrow.


Provisional Qualifying Classification


  Driver Team Laptime Laps
1. George Russell ART Grand Prix 2:27.042 11
2. Nirei Fukuzumi ART Grand Prix 2:27.316 11
3. Arjun Maini Trident 2:27.741 11
4. Jack Aitken ART Grand Prix 2:28.039 11
5. Matthieu Vaxivière DAMS 2:28.474 11
6. Dorian Boccolacci Trident 2:28.593 10
7. Ryan Tveter Trident 2:28.814 11
8. Steijn Schothorst Arden International 2:28.857 11
9. Julien Falchero Campos Racing 2:29.110 10
10. Tatiana Calderon DAMS 2:29.118 11
11. Alessio Lorandi Jenzer Motorsport 2:29.267 11
12. Giuliano Alesi Trident 2:29.270 10
13. Kevin Jörg Trident 2:29.461 9
14. Marcos Siebert Campos Racing 2:29.546 9
15. Leonardo Pulcini Arden International 2:29.744 10
16. Niko Kari Arden International 2:29.766 11
17. Anthoine Hubert ART Grand Prix 2:29.882 10
18. Raoul Hyman Campos Racing 2:29.925 10
19. Bruno Baptista DAMS 2:29.981 10
20. Juan Manuel Correa Jenzer Motorsport 2:30.587 11