Russell stretches lead at Brands

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George Russell consolidated his BRDC Formula 4 Championship lead with his third win of the year after an opportunist drive on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit.

The 16-year-old car-racing Wisbech rookie was fifth on the opening lap, but methodically worked his way through the incidents ahead to take the lead third time around and calmly held the advantage to the end of the 14 laps.

That performance in the final race of the weekend came after fourth and third-place finishes for the Wisbech driver in the first two races.

The Lanan Racing star had never driven the Brands Hatch GP Circuit, regarded as Britain’s most challenging, until a track day on Thursday when he did a few laps in a Caterham sports car.

Nevertheless, he took fourth spot in qualifying, despite a spin at the banked Stirlings left-hander on one of his quick laps, and putting two wheels on the grass at the ultra-fast Westfield bend on another attempt at a fast time.

In a processional opening race, Russell held fourth place throughout. He initially pressured Will Palmer before dropping back and then hounding him again for the rest of the race.

“I was on the back of Palmer at the start,” said Russell, “but I didn’t have enough of a pace advantage to make a move.

“So I chilled out a little bit in the middle of the race to save the tyres, and then I tried to push to get a good lap time, because best laps from races one and two decide the grid for race three.”

That proved a good strategy, as Russell took the third fastest lap, and the second race took place in the midday heat on Sunday, conditions that provide less grip and slow the cars.

The next BRDC F4 round is on June 21/22 at Snetterton in Norfolk, but before then Russell will bid to improve on his third place in the Formula Renault ALPS series at the Red Bull Ring in Austria next weekend and at the legendary Spa circuit in Belgium (June 7/8).