Russell crash ‘came as a result of us attacking’

Michelle Foster
George Russell Imola damage

George Russell Imola damage

Dave Robson says the only positive to come out of George Russell’s crash is that it happened while Williams were “attacking”, and attacking a Mercedes at that.

Williams showed good pace at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, both drivers making out of Q1.

But while Nicholas Latifi’s race ended early, the Williams driver hitting Nikita Mazepin as he made his way back onto the track after an off, Russell was racing inside the top ten when his race ended early.

Running P10, the Brit used his DRS to attack Valtteri Bottas down the main straight, only to get it horribly wrong and take out both cars.

Williams left Imola without a single point, but Robson sees cause for optimism.

“We really thought we had a good chance to score some points,” Robson, head of vehicle performance at Williams, admitted.

“The mixed conditions obviously at the start were not really ideal, but actually I think we took them in our stride, we made some good decisions.

“Then to finish with nothing is obviously deeply frustrating.”

“Both drivers have been really good right from the off,” he continued.

“Qualifying couldn’t look a lot better. Obviously, Tsunoda made a mistake, which was a gift for us, but otherwise all the places we got were achieved on merit.

“I suppose one of the positives is the car, the pace was good. At least George, the accident came as a result of us attacking, and of all the cars to attack, it was the MGP [Mercedes], which is not something we’ve been able to do for a long time.”

Valtteri Bottas' Mercedes, 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix
Mercedes have reportedly salvaged Valtteri Bottas' Imola engine for the Portuguese Grand Prix.

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Robson, though, stopped short on saying Williams were “bullish” about their chances of the rest of the season.

He told “I don’t know about bullish. I think happy in that the car did perform well.

“I think there are going to be circuits ahead where the car behaves more like it did in Bahrain [where Williams’ only finisher Russell finished a distant 14th] and some where it’s more like here.

“I wouldn’t say I was bullish for every upcoming race but definitely pleased to see it behave better here and know that we’ve got some opportunities coming.

“I don’t think we’ve relied on a great deal of luck this weekend. I think we were there on merit.

“This circuit maybe suits us pretty well, but I think there’ll be others that will as well.”

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