The F2 Abu Dhabi feature race, got off to an unfortunate start when DAMS driver Nicholas Latifi stalled on the grid, even before the lights went out to start the race. While several drivers took avoiding action, Trident’s Arjun Maini was not so lucky and rammed into the back of the stationary car.
FIA race director Charlie Whiting was seen taking evasive action as the incident happened below the starter’s box which is located beside the Yas Marina track where he was overlooking the starting protocol.
British protege George Russell was crowned the 2018 F2 champion after winning a dramatic final race of the season in Abu Dhabi. Alexander Albon needed a must win on Saturday’s Feature Race, to have any chance of stopping Russell, but he stalled from eighth on the grid before his stationary DAMS car was clattered into by Nicholas Latifi.
Albon however managed to continue in the race after the Safety Car was deployed, unlike Latifi, but he could only finish in the 14th spot. Pole-sitter George Russell, meanwhile, cruised home to take the win and the title for ART in his debut campaign.
He has also become the first ever Briton to win the feeder series, which was previously known as GP2, since Jolyon Palmer in 2014. This was the perfect send-off before he joins the F1 grid with Williams.
Russell, who is a Mercedes junior, will partner with Robert Kubica at the iconic Grove team next season. Russell has been quick and consistent this entire season while also displaying immense maturity that has impressed the F1 bosses.
“He’s an intelligent guy, he’s driving fast and I think this is the future,” commented Mercedes chief Toto Wolff. He has won seven races and on top of that has claimed an additional four podium finishes.
Russell had been challenged by countryman Lando Norris, who is also making the step up to F1, for much of the year. However the McLaren youngster has fallen away after a strong start, failing to win a single race since the season-opener in Bahrain.