George Russell crowned Formula 2 champion following Abu Dhabi win

Williams 2019 race driver George Russell has secured the 2018 Formula 2 title following his feature race victory at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.

Russell, who drives for ART Grand Prix — the same junior outfit which took Lewis Hamilton to a GP2 title in 2006 — went into the weekend in Abu Dhabi with a 37-point lead, following his fifth pole of the season on Friday. His points advantage ahead of the weekend meant he only needed an eighth-place in Saturday’s feature race to secure the title. The Brit ultimately controlled the race from the front after wrestling the lead back from Prema’s Nyck de Vries through the pit stop phase, after losing the lead off the start.

His life was made easier on the opening lap as his only title rival Alexander Albon stalled on the start and dropped to the back of the grid. His seventh victory of the campaign means he matches Stoffel Vandoorne’s 2016 record of seven victories in a single season.

The Mercedes junior will make the move up to F1 next season alongside Robert Kubica at Williams. Russell will be the third British driver on the grid in 2019, joining reigning champion Hamilton and current F2 driver Lando Norris — who for much of the season was in title contention before a dip in form in second half of the campaign.

Reflecting on his title triumph, Russell said: ”Unbelievable, I don’t know what to say to be honest. It’s been an amazing year,.The team have done a fantastic job. The car’s been probably the quickest car out there from the second round onwards. It’s not just myself, I’ve got a whole team behind me who have done an amazing job. I am over the moon to get it done now.

”I mean it’s just 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’ve fought through the hard times and we’ve made it count in the end, so over the moon.

When asked about his promotion to Williams next year, he replied: ”I am extremely ready. I’ve had an amazing two years with Mercedes. They’ve done an amazing job with me. I’ve never been thrown in at the deep end so now is my time.”

Russell joins Hamilton, Nico Hulkenberg, Pierre Gasly, Romain Grosjean and Charles Leclerc as an F1 driver in 2019 who has a F2 (or GP2) title to his name.