Williams hopeful of fighting Ferrari at Spa

Michelle Foster
George Russell Williams.jpg

Qualifying right behind the Ferraris at Spa, Williams’ Dave Robson says “hopefully” they can take the fight to the Italian stable.

George Russell will line up 15th on the Belgian Grand Prix grid after a great qualifying and yet another Q2 appearance.

That puts him right behind the Ferrari’s of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel, who, as to be expected, struggled at the high-powered circuit.

It has been a long time since Williams last fought a Ferrari on pace alone with head of vehicle performance Robson looking forward to Sunday’s fight.

“Certainly coming here we definitely didn’t expect to be fighting with Ferrari,” he told Autosport.

“It did look like they were struggling a bit yesterday, but even so I think yes we were a bit surprised.”

He added that “hopefully” Williams can stick with Ferrari on race pace.

“Why not?” he said.

“They didn’t look particularly special on high fuel on Friday, so hopefully we can stay with them and battle with them.

“[I] don’t think their end of straight speed is particularly brilliant either – a bit like ours. We’ll definitely be trying.”

Russell was delighted to make it into Q2 on Saturday, perhaps not expecting his Williams to have the pace to do so.

He let the team, and everyone else know, of his joy.

Robson, though, reckons it shouldn’t have been such a surprise for the Brit.

Russell was a “bit more surprised than I thought he would [be],” he said.

“He was frustrated coming out of FP3 when his last run was a bit compromised in a lot of traffic, which I think frustrated him – and another 10 or 12 drivers,” Robson said.

“So I think it was probably a bit of relief, but he put in a genuinely good lap.

“The engineers did a good job of getting him out at a good time so he could prepare the tyres as he wanted and I think everything just came together really.

“The good thing was the lap in Q2 was pretty much as good, so I don’t think it was just a one-off [and] everything coming together in a lucky way.

“Everything came together due to it being well-managed, better than it was at the end of FP3 [where Russell finished 18th].”

Nicholas Latifi will line up P19.

Follow all the action from the Belgian Grand Prix with the PlanetF1 live centre