ART Grand Prix’s George Russell secured his second successive Formula 2 pole position, having turned in a brilliant lap at the Red Bull Ring. 

The Mercedes Formula 1 junior posted a 1m13.541s to beat championship rival and points leader Lando Norris to pole for the Austria feature race.

Russell, who converted his maiden F2 pole into a commanding third victory of the season at Paul Ricard last weekend, further closed the gap to championship leader Lando Norris thanks to the extra four points on offer for qualifying, moving to within nine points of the Carlin driver. 

The Briton continued the form that saw him top Friday morning’s practice session as he set the initial pace during the first runs with a 1m14.104s, before becoming the first man to dip into the 1m13 bracket on his second flying lap. 

Following a mid-session lull, Russell extended his advantage with his fastest lap yet, finding a further 0.5s improvement to seal pole by 0.238s over Norris, who lost vital time in a wide moment at the final corner on his final effort.

Behind F2’s leading title protagonists came the second Carlin of Sergio Sette Camara - also within 0.3s of Russell’s pole lap, with ART’s Jack Aitken managing a season’s best qualifying result in fourth. 

Trident driver Arjun Maini - who had an incredibly emotive outburst over team radio in France following F2’s recent issues with its new-for-2018 car - impressed to secure fifth on the grid for the opening race with a time just half a second off the pace. 

He narrowly outpaced Arden’s Maximilian Gunther, as fourth-place man in the championship standings Alexander Albon was unable to repeat the kind of performance that saw him claim three poles in a row earlier in the campaign as he ran wide in his DAMS on his way to finishing eighth, behind Louis Deletraz. 

Paul Ricard sprint race winner Nyck de Vries ended up ninth quickest for Prema, while Tadasuke Makino put his Russian Time machine into the top 10. 

Outside of the top 10, title hopeful and Renault F1 junior Artem Markelov struggled to keep his Russian Time car on-track as he suffered a number of wide moments en route to finishing a lowly 18th. 

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