Russell ‘really fearful’ of joining puncture club

Jon Wilde
Nicholas Latifi and George Russell Williams.jpg

Nicholas Latifi and George Russell Williams.jpg

George Russell worried he too would be struck by the puncture curse that blighted the closing laps of the British Grand Prix.

Three cars – those of Lewis Hamilton, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Carlos Sainz’s McLaren – suffered delaminations as the race drew to a close. Hamilton clung on for victory but Bottas and Sainz both dropped out of the points.

Their misfortunes were not enough to propel Russell into the top 10 as he ended up sandwiched in between Bottas and Sainz in P12, but the Williams driver was aware of what was happening and was concerned a similar incident could happen to him.

Talking through his race on Sky Sports, the Englishman said: “I was really struggling in the early laps – following cars, following Kimi (Raikkonen). Then suddenly after the Safety Car, the car was really strong and I managed to overtake Kimi and catch Antonio (Giovinazzi).

“Then I was really fearful in the last three laps of getting a puncture. I had no idea what was happening with Valtteri, Carlos, Lewis and I thought ‘surely not’. Then I came in and saw Lewis’ car.

“This track is brutal, it’s so fast. Every single lap we are 170mph through Copse but nevertheless it’s not great to get these punctures.”

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After a dismal 2019, Williams have improved considerably this season, especially in qualifying with Russell now becoming a regular in Q2.

At Silverstone, he was encouraged by how his race performance emulated what he produced on Saturday and believes that is a positive sign going forward.

“I think it’s good to know our Sunday pace was matching our Saturday pace this weekend,” Russell added.

“If we can maintain a good quali position, P15 ahead of the Alfa Romeos and the Haas cars, there’s no reason why we can’t stay there on merit on the Sunday.”

Russell’s team-mate Nicholas Latifi echoed those thoughts after his P15 finish, which put him ahead of Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen – the first time in F1 that he has not finished last of those that completed the race.

The Canadian said: “I think out of all the first four races so far, this was the race where in duration the car felt the best and the most predictable.

“The car felt alive and it was really nice to drive. On the first lap I made a mistake and went off and lost track position, but besides that I had a lot of confidence to push.

“It was quite an enjoyable race, as it’s much nicer when you are in the fight with other cars.”

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