‘Surreal’ to keep scoring points, says Russell

Jon Wilde
George Russell ahead of an Alpine through the first chicane in the Italian GP. Monza September 2021.

George Russell's Williams ahead of an Alpine going through the first chicane in the Italian Grand Prix. Monza September 2021.

George Russell described Williams’ sudden knack of regularly scoring points as “pretty surreal” after finishing ninth in the Italian Grand Prix.

It’s a definite case of the bus analogy for Williams – wait for ages and then three come along at once.

In terms of World Championship points, the Grove-based team failed to trouble the scorers from the 2019 German Grand Prix until Hungary this season, just over two years later.

Both Russell and Nicholas Latifi finished in the top 10 at the Hungaroring, they did so again in the rain-curtailed Belgian Grand Prix and after drawing a Zandvoort blank, the Briton added two more points to his tally at Monza.

It meant Williams, on 22, moved 19 clear of Alfa Romeo in the chase for P8 in the Constructors’ Championship at the end of a week when Russell’s move to Mercedes for next year was confirmed.

After crossing the finishing line, Russell said over the team radio: “Great work. Points. Definitely not bad after Friday. Three out of four races in the points. Not bad going, eh?”

Show your support for Williams with their latest official merchandise collection

The Friday blip he was referring to was a less competitive qualifying performance than usual, only just scraping into Q2 when Yuki Tsunoda had a lap time deleted for exceeding track limits.

Russell, who had qualified on the front row in Belgium, described Williams’ new-found points-scoring form as “pretty incredible”.

In his post-race interview with Formula 1, he added: “I think what we keep on doing really well is capitalising from others’ mishaps.

“We finished ahead of two Alfa Romeos, an Aston Martin, an Alpine, all on merit, all on track, just because the guys on the pit wall did a really good job at the right time.

“We know the pace of the car but if we keep on doing this, we’ll end the season well.

“Pretty surreal, three [times] in the last four races. It’s a relief off everyone’s shoulders that we are scoring these points and we can just go in, no pressure and just try to maximise it week in week out and that’s what we keep on doing. Proud to be part of the team.”

Nobody had improved on their grid position more than Russell at the end of the Italian Grand Prix, having started 14th, while his team-mate Latifi also performed creditably in moving up from 13th to 11th.

The Canadian felt he would also have scored points had it not been for the Safety Car’s deployment following the crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

“I think we got unlucky with the timing of the Safety Car,” said Latifi, who was passed by Esteban Ocon at the restart.

“Overall, still a positive result for the team. We didn’t think we would be anywhere near challenging for points at this race, obviously a few retirements. Lots to be proud of.”

Planet F1 verdict

Positive signs for Williams ahead of 2022

George Russell scored points for Williams again, with Nicholas Latifi just missing out in P11.