Russell has not felt that ‘pumped up’ since F2 days

Jon Wilde
George Russell

George Russell got a pump from Austria qualifying that he last felt when winning a race three years ago.

George Russell is targeting his best ever F1 finish in a Williams after another brilliant qualifying performance at the Austrian Grand Prix.

The Briton has only once scored points in Formula 1, when he finished ninth in last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix while deputising at Mercedes for Lewis Hamilton who was sidelined with COVID-19 – although Russell could have won that race but for a pit-stop blunder by the team and a subsequent puncture.

At the Red Bull Ring, he finally achieved one of his big ambitions with Williams, reaching Q3 and not only that, he even managed to better the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll to take P9 on the grid.

It is no surprise then that Russell has not felt this kind of a pump since he was winning F2 races three years ago.

“Q3 in any circumstances is massive for us, let alone doing it on the mediums. I’ve probably not been that pumped up since winning a race three years ago,” he told Sky F1.

“That was massive for us. I’ve got a lot of confidence and we’re eking more and more out of the car, building confidence week after week and it’s awesome for me to go out and nail it when you’ve got that one shot. It was really hooked up, really nice and I’m buzzing to be honest.”

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Qualifying last weekend at the Red Bull Ring was also a huge positive for Russell who started from P10 thanks to Yuki Tsunoda’s penalty, and in the early stages of the Styrian GP he was challenging Fernando Alonso for P7.

Once again though his luck was out as an engine problem forced Russell to retire, but this is take two, and so points are now back on the agenda.

“Quali is behind us now and we have to look forward to the race. Points have to be a minimum (target),” he said.

“You make your own luck, but we’ve done a great job today, probably starting P8 [anticipating a penalty for Sebastian Vettel].

“We’re on the right strategy, we’ve got the flexibility to do a one-stop, two-stop whereas the guys on the softs will be pretty locked in there, I suspect, or will have a real difficult time in that opening stint.

“I will have the AlphaTauris just ahead, the Aston Martins just behind, so hopefully that will give me a bit of a margin to battle off the Ferraris a little bit further away and try to move forward because on the mediums there’s no reason why we can’t do that.”

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