Russell beats F1 hopeful in the Austrian mountains

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George Russell put in a breakthrough performance to claim his first Formula Renault ALPS podium at the dramatic Red Bull Ring circuit in the Austrian mountains.

The 16-year-old from Wisbech took second place in the opening race and then fifth position in the second to maintain his third spot in the championship standings in his rookie season of car racing.

But it could have been even better for Russell, as a very marginal decision from the officials denied him a double pole position, which could have set up two wins.

Russell, who also leads the BRDC Formula 4 Championship with three race victories, put in a stellar performance in qualifying to beat McLaren Formula 1 protégé Nyck de Vries – his team-mate in the Koiranen GP stable and in his third year of Formula Renault – by a clear three-tenths of a second.

But his best time was taken away because he was adjudged to have breached track limits at the downhill Turn 8.

“The stewards said I was outside the white line at the edge of the track by less than a centimetre,” said Russell. “My speed was exactly the same through there as on my other quick laps so I certainly didn’t gain an advantage, and instead of starting on pole it meant I was second for race one and fourth for race two.”