ART Grand Prix’s George Russell is in a prime position to seal the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship with pole for the feature race at Yas Marina Circuit.

Russell had initially set the pace on his first run but a different strategy from Prema’s Nyck de Vries and DAMS’ Nicholas Latifi saw them both beat the British driver as the Dutchman took provisional pole with a 1m49.629s.

De Vries radioed that he wasn’t certain that he will take pole with that lap which eventually proved to be right when his rivals ventured out for their second run as Russell went quicker with a 1m49.251s lap time.

That sealed pole for the 2019 Williams driver with de Vries taking second despite an improvement to 1m49.541s. Latifi also ventured out for the second time but the Canadian kept third with a 1m49.647s lap.

Russian Time’s Artem Markelov (1m49.869s) was fourth from ART’s Jack Aitken (1m49.946s) as Charouz Racing System’s Louis Deletraz (1m50.038s) was sixth with Carlin’s Lando Norris (1m50.059s) only seventh.

It was a disappointment in the end for DAMS’ Alexander Albon (1m50.155s) after the Thai-British driver had to abort his quick lap after going over the Turn 20 sausage kerb with Russian Time’s Tadasuke Makino (1m50.180s) and Carlin’s Sergio Sette Camara (1m50.187s) rounding the Top 10.

The Japanese driver was involved in a tangle with Campos Racing’s Luca Ghiotto early in the session which did compromise his quick lap as Makino swear-ed on the radio and almost did not allow Ghiotto to rejoin the track.

Red Bull junior Dan Ticktum had a lowly finish in 14th in his first outing with the BWT Arden outfit with the British driver not looking like a threat to the Top 10 drivers in his run so far in the feeder series.

Position 11-20: Niko Kari, Roberto Merhi, Antonio Fuoco, Ticktum, Sean Gelael, Alessio Lorandi, Ghiotto, Dorian Boccolacci, Nirei Fukuzumi and Arjun Maini.