Russell shines in GP3 test following meeting with motor racing legends and David Cameron at Downing Street
- Credit: Archant
Walpole St Andrew racer George Russell put the cherry on a stunning year with a spectacular performance in his first GP3 Series test in Abu Dhabi.
Russell’s test in the Formula 1 Grand Prix-supporting GP3 Series, with Arden International, was a prize for winning the BRDC Formula 4 Championship.
The 16-year-old, up against a 23-strong field of international drivers, was third fastest around the Yas Marina circuit in the morning session and fifth in the afternoon.
Russell said: “Quite a lot of the drivers had raced there the previous weekend, and a few had raced and tested there before, or had driven GP3 cars before.
“I knew it was going to be difficult because I had two things to learn: the GP3 car and the circuit. So I thought if I was going to be within half a second at the end of the day I’d be quite happy.
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“The morning session went well. I ended up third and I was still learning the track and had a bit of traffic.
“Then in the afternoon we only had one set of new tyres compared to a lot of the other drivers who had two sets.
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“About 45 minutes into the session they put their new tyres on and did their times, and we put our fresher set on from the morning session and ended up being only two tenths off their new-tyre pace. I was really happy with that.
“The session got red-flagged and it took about 30 minutes to repair the damage. We put the new tyres on but it was so late there was only time for a warm-up lap and then the chequered flag came out.
“To end up fifth, only two tenths off the pace on old tyres, was really good I think.”
The GP3 test came just two days after Russell was one of a delegation invited to 10 Downing Street by the prime minister to celebrate the British motorsport industry.
Russell said: “It was an honour to be invited – it’s not an everyday occurrence.
“There were only four drivers from my generation. And then we had Sir Stirling Moss, Sir Jackie Stewart, John Surtees, Dario Franchitti.
“There were a lot of names there and it was great to be there. David Cameron came round to all the little groups and had a chat with us, then he gave a speech on why motorsport is so important to the UK. It was a great experience.”