George Russell thought the Hungaroring would be Williams’ strongest track of the season, but instead he suffered Q1 elimination.
The Briton has been a regular in the second stage of qualifying in 2021, while at the previous two rounds in Austria and England he even managed to reach Q3.
But the Hungarian Grand Prix brought him back down to earth with Russell failing to escape the opening stage of qualifying – the first time that has happened this season.
And he did not have a reason to give, having expected to “breeze” through Q1 at the Hungaroring.
“From our side ahead of the weekend, I thought Q2 would be a breeze,” he told reporters.
“And then for whatever reason, I just haven’t had the same rhythm as I’ve had at other circuits.
“Ahead of this season I would have said it would have been our strongest circuit and our best opportunity…yes, the first time we haven’t made it through to Q2 [this season].
“We can’t get it right every time, obviously a bit disappointed now.”
Russell explained he simply could not find his usual Q1 groove that allows him to build up his performance throughout qualifying.
“This weekend I’m not too sure exactly,” he said when asked what had gone wrong for him.
“It was definitely windier and gustier than it has been at the last four events, which definitely doesn’t play in our favour.
“It’s fine margins. Usually I go into qualifying and I’m in a groove and can just pull the lap out, and today I knew when I crossed the line it just didn’t come together for me.
“I just didn’t have that good feel, that right rhythm with the car or the tyres, and I knew it wasn’t good enough. Usually it just sort of comes to me much easier, and then when I go into Q2 I can make another step up from there.”
Not our day today as both cars are out in Q1. We'll be working hard now to get set for tomorrow 👊 pic.twitter.com/jDf0CiPZh5
— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) July 31, 2021
Russell said that like Alfa Romeo, he had the option of using a third set of new soft tyres to escape Q1. But at the time wanted to save them, hoping they would have been available to boost his chances of making Q3.
“Obviously I’m not that happy because it’s the first time we haven’t progressed into Q2 all season, on a circuit I thought would be our best shot for points,” he said.
“The Alfa Romeo drivers did three sets of tyres. If we did three sets of tyres we would have got through to Q2, but we’d have had a lesser shot in Q2 to get into Q3.
“So it depends on how you want to play your cards. I don’t want to sit on the fence, I want to put everything on the table and that’s why we decided to only use two sets of new tyres and to really go for it for Q2 to get a shot into Q3.”