George Russell doesn’t know where Williams’ pace has gone and has called for his team to put their “thinking caps on”.
Usually one of the best qualifiers on the grid, the Mercedes-bound driver failed to make it to Q2 at Interlagos, going out in the first session for just the second time this year.
He was also beaten by team-mate Nicholas Latifi in a traditional qualifying session for the first time this year with the Canadian finishing one place ahead of him in P16.
The Brit admits that he “wasn’t feeling it” throughout the day but doesn’t think the pace of his car is strong either.
“It wasn’t easy at all, to be honest,” he said afterwards.
“I just couldn’t really get the tyres working, the car working. It was a little bit gusty out there so it didn’t really play in our favour to be honest and yeah, I wasn’t really feeling it to be honest. But nevertheless, Nicholas did a really good lap and is just ahead of me.
“As a team, we’re pretty off the pace this weekend. Three tenths from Q2, it’s only the second time in 19 races we’ve not been in Q2, so yeah, we need to find that form again.”
Tough weekend so far but you never know what might happen in São Paulo. Eyes forward for the Sprint tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/aF411qgFQB
— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) November 12, 2021
On a race weekend with two races, a sprint on Saturday and the main event on Sunday, race pace is far more important than how fast a car is over the course of one lap is qualifying.
That doesn’t make Russell feel much better though with the 23-year-old not confident they’ll be much quicker in race-trim and unsure what exactly has gone in the last few rounds of the campaign.
“I mean we’ve only had one session, I think FP2 will be a better indication,” he added.
“But we definitely don’t have the pace to really make massive strides from there so we need to try and do it in the pit-stops, in the strategy, I think the sprint race will be a tough one tomorrow.
“Yeah, generally, don’t really know what’s happened with the pace of the car in the last few race, we don’t really seem to be there whereas it was coming to us pretty easy earlier in the season and straight after the summer break.
“So we need to put our thinking caps on.”