ART Grand Prix’s George Russell took pole position for the 2018 Formula 2 Championship season-finale in Abu Dhabi as he edged ever closer to sealing the title.

The Mercedes junior, who will step up to F1 to drive for Williams in 2019, turned in a 1m49.251s to seal his fifth pole of the season and take four points to move on the verge of sealing the 2018 F2 crown.

Russell now leads nearest title rival Alexander Albon - who could only qualify eighth - by 41 points with only 44 left up for grabs in the final two races at the Abu Dhabi finale. 

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Prema's Nyck de Vries will join Russell on the front row for Saturday's feature race. The McLaren F1 junior briefly displaced Russell at the top of the timings midway through the 30-minute qualifying session but ultimately ended up nearly three tenths adrift. 

Nicholas Latifi also ran out of sync with de Vries and claimed third spot as the lead DAMS driver, with Artem Markelov managing a time good enough for the second row, some 0.6s off Russell's pole lap. 

Russell's ART teammate Jack Aitken secured fifth place ahead of Charouz Racing System's Louis Deletraz, with Lando Norris, who dropped out of title contention in Russia, only seventh for Carlin. 

Albon had been on course for an improvement until he ran wide and bounced over the large sausage kerb at Turn 20 on his final flying lap, leaving him eighth and nearly a second off the pace as he missed the chance to take vital points off Russell in the championship. 

Tadasuke Makino and Sergio Sette Camara completed the top-10 for Russian Time and Carlin respectively, while two-time Macau GP winner and Red Bull protege Dan Ticktum was 14th-fastest in his debut F2 qualifying outing for Arden. 

F2 Abu Dhabi Qualifying Results