Russell ‘felt like an amateur’ driving FW43B ‘beast’

Michelle Foster
George Russell

George Russell

Having his dream of a first point with Williams battered by the wind at Portimao, George Russell was not surprised by his troubles on Sunday.

Russell qualified an impressive P11 for Sunday’s Portuguese Grand Prix and held onto the position through the opening lap before the Safety Car came out for Kimi Raikkonen’s crash.

However, he wasn’t as fortunate at the restart, dropping positions almost immediately to fall back to P15.

It proved to be a long slog for the Williams driver who eventually crossed the line in 16th place, a lap down on race winner Lewis Hamilton.

“Incredibly tough, probably one of the toughest races I have had since 2019 when the car was so far off,” Russell told Sky Sports F1.

“It was a race of survival, just trying to keep the car on the track. I couldn’t battle with anybody, which was a real shame.

“I finished 40 seconds behind the car ahead of me and almost two laps down. So yeah, Formula 1 is tricky sometimes.

“It’s really challenging from within because you feel a bit of an amateur when the car is driving you as opposed to you driving the car, but that’s the nature of the beast at the moment.”

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Not for the first time this season Russell spoke of what a diva his Williams FW43B can be, a car that doesn’t enjoy the wind.

That played a big role in Russell’s lack of pace on Sunday with the Brit admitting he was “not” surprised by his troubles.

“We know how difficult our car is when the wind picks up and we’ve seen over the course of this weekend when the wind was strong we were slow,” he said.

“When the wind died down we could do a performance like we did yesterday [in qualifying].

“That Q2 lap came from absolutely nowhere. Two sessions before we were miles off the pace and then suddenly we were fighting for Q3.

“Unfortunately that’s the nature of the beast with our car.

“We’ve had three races now, two of which have been very gusty and very exposed circuits, so fingers crossed we’re not talking about this all season.

“It’s not a surprise. We’ve just got to make the most of it and fingers crossed we get an opportunity where things are a bit more normal throughout this season.”

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