George Russell, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Don’t expect to see Williams in Q2, we’re still slowest – Russell

2020 F1 season

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George Russell has played down expectations of a significant improvement by Williams in 2020 following its poor campaign last year.

The team finish last in the constructors’ championship for the second year in a row last season and was often too slow to compete with its midfield rivals. It fared better in pre-season testing this year, which raised hopes of a resurgence, but Russell doubts they’ve done enough to lift themselves off the back row of the grid.

“No doubt we’re in a better position,” he said, “[but] I think realistically we are still the slowest car. I’m not going to get carried away with ourselves, but we’ve definitely reduced the gap.

“So that’s all we could have hoped for over the winter and we’ll go to Melbourne and see. But like I said, don’t expect to see us in Q2, Q3 sort of thing. We’ve definitely improved but expectations are all under control.”

The team’s 2019 chassis was often a second off the pace of the next-slowest car. Russell hopes this year’s car is at least quick enough for them to take advantage of problems for other teams.

“Last year when we out-performed our car we were still qualifying 19th and finishing 19th,” he said. “So I hope this year when people slip up and we perform well, that’s when we can take opportunities and we should be racing.

[smr2020test]”But like I say, expectations are under control. Doing it in Barcelona when the test is one thing, going to Melbourne will be a completely different story.”

Williams faces a rebuilding period similar to that McLaren has recently been through, Russell believes.

“As Williams, we want to progress much further up the grid. Their goals aren’t just to be fine at the back, it’s over the next few years to be really making some big strides. Hopefully this is a turning point but it’s a long road. I think McLaren are the best example of that, how long it took them to recover and look where they are now.

“So like I say, it’s better to under-promise and over-deliver. But from my side and everybody at Williams, we’re just going to go to Melbourne to try to get everything out of that car.”

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2020 F1 season

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11 comments on “Don’t expect to see Williams in Q2, we’re still slowest – Russell”

  1. Well, I suppose that’s to be expected and at least they and we know what to expect. And if they do manage to beat others, now they can celebrate ;)

  2. Not sure why (though based a bit in testing), but I think he is underplaying this.
    Some of their lower mid-field competition (Racing Point, Alpha Tauri) might have moved up a bit, and McLaren, Renault were always ahead, but I can see them fight regularly with Haas and Alfa Romeo. Or at least I hope they can.

    1. That was what I read from testing as well. the gap from the misdfiels to ferrari is shorter and the gap from willams to the next quickest is also shorter. I would still put williams a good .5 from the next best.

  3. Good to see that internally they seem not to expect / hope for too much. If they are at least in a real fight for where they get on the grid, and in the race, with the cars around them, that would already be a hugely needed step forward

  4. I feel that Russell is a very level-headed bloke, and maybe spending these years in Williams as a backmarker gives him some experience which others that were promoted to the top right away lack. Then again I hope he gets lucky in the future and gets a better car.

  5. I hope George gets another run out in the Mercedes like he did last year. That will be his only opportunity to show how he fares in a front running car. Running around at the back and having to move over when the fast cars come past can’t do him a lot of good in the long term. He can’t get into a rhythm and has to keep looking over his shoulder. Even if he does get into a battle with another car, it could well be with the unpredictable Haas clowns.

  6. George has definitely got the Merc handbook on handling preseason expectations.

    1. Ahah, good one.

  7. I expect George at least once in Q2 this season. The car is much better now and he was very close achieving it in Hungary last year. Fingers crossed.

  8. “ I think McLaren are the best example of that, how long it took them to recover and look where they are now.“

    … the midfield with the worst team principle in the sport? Some lofty goals you got there..

  9. “Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”
    Vince Lombardi
    Somehow, I doubt that Sir Frank, in he hay-day, would have been as accepting of the idea of doing better and being closer, but likely still last.
    One of the 10 teams will be last, just hoping it isn’t Williams and that whoever it is, has a lot more than one point.

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