Abu Dhabi GP a ‘sad reality’ for Russell

Jamie Woodhouse

George Russell calls his Abu Dhabi GP the "sad reality" of F1.

From the top three in Sakhir to the bottom three in Abu Dhabi, that is the “sad reality” of F1 says George Russell.

The Briton arrived at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in Mercedes mode as he geared up for a second weekend in the W11 to put right the heartache of the Sakhir GP, where a win on debut cruelly slipped away.

But when Lewis Hamilton was deemed fit to race after testing negative for COVID-19, he returned to the Mercedes line-up which meant Russell was back in the Williams for the final round of 2020.

This time last weekend, Russell was looking forward to starting the Sakhir GP from P2, but now in Abu Dhabi he was the third slowest qualifier.

And this, he said, was simply the “sad reality” of Formula 1.

“It’s obviously a big difference, the lap times show that,” he said, quoted by RaceFans.net.

“In some ways I feel more comfortable here at Williams because it’s my car, it’s where I’ve been for two years. But ultimately, we just don’t have the speed.

“As a driver you’re doing the same job, but one week you’re fighting in the top three, the next week you’re in the bottom three. But that’s, unfortunately, the sad reality in Formula 1 these days.

“The guys here at Williams are giving everything for me. So I feel like it’s my duty, especially in the last race of the year, to go out and try to end on a high.”

George Russell

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While Russell said he was “expecting” the Williams return to come, he could not hide his disappointment at not getting another crack in the W11 around Abu Dhabi, feeling he has missed the chance to show what he could really do with no excuses.

“I was expecting it, to be honest,” he admitted.

“I think prior to Bahrain, I really wanted the two weeks in the car because I thought I might be a bit off the pace in Bahrain, and then Abu Dhabi’s my second chance to know the car and what have you.

“Having had a competitive race in Bahrain, obviously it would have been great to get another opportunity to go for the win.”

Russell was at least able to outqualify Nicholas Latifi in Abu Dhabi, in doing so stretching his record of never being outqualified by a Williams team-mate to two seasons.

Focus now switches to the race as Williams look to avoid finishing the 2020 campaign without a point. If they fail, it will be the first time since Williams’ debut campaign in Formula 1 back in 1977 that they have finished a season point-less. That year they entered a custom March 761, driven by lone driver Patrick Nève.

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