Good strategy gave Russell ‘half a chance’ of points

Date published: May 9 2021

George Russell, Williams

George Russell was pleased the Williams strategy had given him a sniff of some points at the Spanish Grand Prix, even though he ultimately fell short.

The Briton is still seeking a first top-10 finish for Williams in his third season with the team and as the race in Barcelona approached its climax, Russell looked poised to put that painful stat to bed.

He was closing on Fernando Alonso for P10 but just behind, a gaggle of cars on a different strategy to him were closing in and eventually Russell slipped down the order to finish 14th.

Nevertheless, the 23-year-old found it a much more encouraging performance than in Portugal a week earlier when he had started an excellent 11th but had no pace in the race and tumbled backwards.

Explaining his afternoon at the Circuit de Catalunya, Russell told reporters: “We were on a one-stop strategy, I had Fernando ahead who was also on a one-stop and faster cars behind, who should have been ahead, on a two-stop.

“It was a case of doing our everything to pass the cars ahead but not be passed from behind. The tyres were on the limit, I was on the limit, everything was on the limit!

“It wasn’t meant to be, that was the maximum and I’m really pleased we opted for that strategy because it gave us half a chance.

“We know where the pace of the car is, but satisfied with the overall result today because I think we did the maximum we could have.”

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With a Williams that is sensitive to the wind, Russell was pleased conditions in Barcelona were more suitable than on the exposed Portimao layout – and that made a big difference to how his car handled.

“The balance of the car was night-and-day different from Portugal,” he said. “It was a calm day today and the car in the race felt really good.

“I felt really confident and it showed – we were behind Fernando, catching him up and trying to overtake him in what is clearly a bit of a faster car at the moment, the Alpine.

“It was a good day – obviously the result doesn’t quite reflect that but we started 15th, finished 14th and were so close to a much better result, so hopefully there will be more of these race weekends.”

Russell’s team-mate, Nicholas Latifi, finished 16th and among the three cars he beat, which included the Haas duo, was Alonso who fell back late on as his medium tyres wore out and had to make a late pit-stop.

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