Mercedes junior George Russell believes the 2018 Formula 2 field is the strongest in the history of the category, saying that as many as 15 drivers are capable of winning races such is the depth of talent on display.

The second F2 season since the GP2 Series was rebranded at the end of 2016 kicked off in Bahrain three weeks ago, with Lando Norris moving into an early championship lead as Russell endured a tough weekend, scoring only 10 points.

Russell and Norris are two of the drivers tipped to contest for top honours in F2 this year, but the Mercedes youngster feels the fight for victories will be far more open.

"In qualifying you’ve got four guys within a tenth from four different teams, so that’s quite promising," Russell said.

"From a driver’s point of view, personally I believe this is probably the strongest field of F2, GP2, across the range of the drivers, I think the quality is extremely high from probably first to 15th on the grid.

"I think any one of those drivers is capable of winning races at any time. So for all of us and all of the teams, it’s going to be a very competitive season."

Norris echoed his rival's comments, believing that consistency will be the key to a good title charge given the level of competition in F2 this year.

"I think there are a lot of drivers who are very strong," Norris said. "In the long run I think you need to have good qualifiyings, good results.

"I think it’s all about consistent, making sure you don’t make any mistakes, you don’t end your race in Turn 1 or anything, even if you have to concede a position or two, I think it’s better than to crash basically.

"We have a long way to go, and I think there’s a lot of people who can do well in the championship.

"We just need to try and take advantage of the first race already and go from there."

The F2 season continues this weekend in Baku, Azerbaijan, with races scheduled for both Saturday and Sunday.

 

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