George Russell admitted making “too many mistakes” as he tries to extract everything possible from his improving Williams car.
The Briton has all the reason in the world to feel confident, having been chosen to drive for Mercedes next year and scoring his first points for Williams, 16 of them, in four of the last five races during his third season with the team.
The 23-year-old’s burgeoning reputation has been built on his qualifying pace, with P2 and P3 grid slots secured in Belgium and Russia respectively within the last couple of months and wet tracks suiting his skillset particularly well.
But at the Turkish Grand Prix, Russell came unstuck as he looked set to record another hugely impressive Q2 lap time, running off the track at the final corner and squandering a perfect chance to progress to the top-10 shootout.
The Istanbul Park circuit had been dampened by a very light rain shower, but slick tyres were still being used and Russell refused to blame anything other than an error of his own for what will be a P13 start.
He also hinted in a post-race interview it had not been an isolated blunder, using the word ‘mistakes’ in a plural sense.
Very disappointed. We were comfortably on course to make Q3 today but I just pushed it too hard in the final corner. Sorry to the team, who gave me a great car today. I’ll give it everything to pull it back tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/wvEDb6s2Vn
— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) October 9, 2021
“The lap was incredible, to be honest,” Russell told the official Formula 1 website. “I was a second up on my previous lap. It would probably have been just inside the top five – half a second, six tenths inside Q3, and I just lost it.
“I’m really trying to push the boundaries at the moment and just too many mistakes from my side, especially today. It’s just…I don’t know.
“It’s human error. I’m the one inside the car and just pushed it too hard. The conditions weren’t easy, for sure, but it’s the same for everyone. I expect more from myself.
“These are the conditions I sort of relish and use to take an opportunity. We definitely didn’t have the car this weekend to be in the top 10, yet in this qualifying session with the difficult conditions we could easily have been top seven on the grid for tomorrow. I’m pretty disappointed.”
Regarding strategy for the grand prix, he added: “Nobody knows if it will be a one-stop, two-stop, how the soft tyres, hard tyres will hold on. It will be a tricky race.”
Nicholas Latifi in the other Williams will start 16th, having outpaced both Alfa Romeo cars but finding himself behind Mick Schumacher who secured a rare Q2 appearance this year for Haas.
Shocks and surprises in chaotic Turkey GP qualifying
A frantic qualifying session took place at the Turkish Grand Prix, with some surprising results.