Russell ‘out-qualifying the true pace of the car’

Date published: July 19 2021 - Michelle Foster

George Russell

Qualifying his Williams P8 on Friday and yet leaving Silverstone without a single point, George Russell reckons he is “out-qualifying the true pace of the car”.

Russell went from Mr. Saturday to Mr. Friday at the British Grand Prix, as Formula 1 trialled a new format with sprint qualifying.

Russell put his Williams up onto eighth place on the sprint qualifying grid, the Brit into Q3 for the second race weekend in succession.

He finished Saturday evening’s 17-lap dash in ninth place, only to be hit with a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s 52-lap grand prix for an incident with Carlos Sainz.

Starting the grand prix P12, he also finished P12, once again just short of the points.

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Asked by the official F1 website what he needs to do to score points, he replied: “I don’t know.”

He does, however, have an idea about why it keeps happening.

“It is always a bit disappointing when we go backwards on a Sunday,” he said, “but ultimately we keep out-qualifying the true pace of the car. How we keep doing that I don’t know.

“To battle with Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo, AlphaTauri, it makes it so, so difficult.

“But you know it has been three top 12s in four races, fighting for points in three of those, and before these last four races we would have definitely taken that.

“We seem to, for whatever reason, have made a step forward.

“But,” he added, “we are still on paper the ninth quickest team which, when you qualify in P8 for example and you’ve got eight faster cars behind you and substantially faster in race trim, that makes it so tricky.”

Williams is one of two teams yet to get off the mark this season, the other is Haas. It is the Grove team who is ahead in the Constructors’ Championship thanks to Russell’s P11s.

Russell has, potentially, just 13 more races with Williams to break his duck with the team with the Brit heavily linked to Valtteri Bottas’ Mercedes race seat.

Toto Wolff has hinted that a decision will be made the summer break.