George Russell, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Russell pleased with race despite “much worse pace”

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In the round-up: George Russell described the Spanish Grand Prix as one of his best races so far despite his car’s relatively poor pace.

What they say

Russell started 18th and finished one place higher, but had an enjoyable afternoon.

It’s probably been one of the most satisfying races I have completed. Even though the end result just seems normal, I probably could have had a better end result in terms of time doing a different strategy, I was really glad we sort of rolled the dice.

I managed to overtake Romain [Grosjean] on-track twice, had a really good battle with Kimi [Raikkonen] which is something I’ve not really had, wheel-to-wheel racing. I made a pretty decent start again, which has not been one of my a strong points.

So as I said, on paper, it looks like a pretty standard race for us. But actually I think considering our outright pace this weekend was much worse than the last four races, I think there was a lot of positives to take from that from my personal side and the experience gained.

At one point I was right behind Ocon with more pace advantage to him. He was very fortunate that when I was closest to him, he had the DRS off Giovinazzi who was just pitting. Had that not happened, I think I could have overtaken Ocon. He definitely would have re-overtaken me again. But for me to be right up behind a Renault, which is, a lot of the time, right in Q3, I was really pleased.

I dropped off like a stone in the last few laps but I was giving it everything I had. Ultimately it is very, very difficult as a driver when you’re constantly on the defensive when you are in a car that isn’t as fast as the others it is very tricky to race against them.

But I really enjoyed it and that sense of racing again, the pressure of the guy behind you trying to overtake, drivers in front of you that I was trying to attack, that was really fun. It wasn’t just a typical, normal race hacking around in 19th.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

@Stefmeister agrees with Hamilton’s critique of Pirelli’s tyres:

I’ve hated the tyres we’ve had since 2011 regardless of who’s to blame for them. The tyres on top of DRS are a big part of why I care less about F1 now than I did in 2010.

Yes, tyre management has been part of the sport forever to varying degrees but my problem with it since 2011 is that it’s been down to tyres been made artificially worse which just makes it feel like a gimmick on top of created a number of additional issues over the past nine years.

F1 wanted to copy Montreal 2010 yet doesn’t seem to have understood why that race ended up been as good as it was. It wasn’t simply because the tyres degraded a lot, It was because they did so more than anybody was expecting and therefore nobody knew how to deal with it. It was something different that caught everyone out and that is what made it exciting. As soon as you try to recreate that it not only starts to feel fake but since everyone knows it’s going to happen they can plan for it and work around it which ends up with it losing everything that made the the original exciting.

Not to mention that at Montreal in 2010 nobody was cruising around that slowly to manage them, Partly because they weren’t expecting to need to but also because while the tyres were wearing at a faster than expected rate they were not suffering any of the thermal issues the Pirellis do so could still be pushed. We still featured close racing with drivers pushing harder for many laps while behind other cars and that too was exciting to watch.

We have the new regulations on the way in 2022 with cars that should hopefully be able to race closer and with overtaking more possible than it has been. If those cars race as well as is hoped then hopefully we can get rid of things like DRS and allow Pirelli to make more durable tyres so that we can get back to more pure racing free of some of the more artificial/gimmicky things of the past nine years.

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On this day in F1

  • 35 years ago today Alain Prost won the Austrian Grand Prix, half a minute ahead of Ayrton Senna’s Lotus. Niki Lauda announced his final retirement from F1 that weekend.

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  • 13 comments on “Russell pleased with race despite “much worse pace””

    1. On behalf of @HoHum I +1 the CotD.

      1. Thanks @coldfly, while I was trying to remember the name of that Yankee Admiral (John Paul Jones ?) and the quote ” Full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes” you were posting.

        1. That was Admiral Farragut at the Battle of Mobile Bay. John Paul Jones commanded ships during the revolution and, when asked by the captain of HMS Serapis if he was ready to surrender, relied “I have not yet begun to fight.” Then he went on to find fame and fortune playing bass for Led Zeppelin.

          1. Thanks @daltec and@canon1753, Like Joe Biden I have these senior moments when I can’t quite retrieve the information I want till after I stop thinking about it, although I did not know it was Farragut and only vaguely placed it as near New Orleans, I was pretty sure JPJ was the wrong man.

        2. Admiral Farragut “damn theTorpedoes, full speed ahead”. Battle of Mobile Bay

    2. COTD, The Stefmeister says it so well.

      Also cheers to George Russell, great attitude, ” Attack and damn the torpedoes” or in this case the tyres.

      1. Oh, that is sad to see Pedro

    3. I wonder how and why did the burglary into Gasly’s house in Normandy (presumably his parents’ house as he lives in Milan) happen? I suppose everything (doors and windows) were locked as usual. That is if it happened at nighttime, although also locked in the daytime if no one was in the house at the time. I also wonder if the burglar(s) even knew whose stuff he took.

      1. I think it is rather likely that nobody was there at the time. It could well be that the burglar knew they would not be there so had all the time in the world to do their thing @jerejj

    4. Re the CotD; I think sometimes you have to just stop and take stock of the scale of the challenge that Pirrelli have to deal with. I’m not saying they’re doing a brilliant job, but you have to acknowledge that the cars, right now, are basically the fastest cars around a racing circuit in human history. They accelerate, brake, and corner quicker than any car before them. They generate some of the highest downforce loads ever seen, at the same time as coping with vehicle weights significantly higher than the cars of yesteryear. At the same time, track surfaces have become grippier, kerbs have gotten ever-larger.

      I’m not saying that Pirrelli have done a perfect job. Clearly there are issues with the longevity, particularly at higher track temperatures. But let’s not kid ourselves that there were ever perfect racing tyres which never blistered or overheated or simply blew apart. It’s part of the game. Let’s not fall into the trap of believing that creating tyres at this bleeding edge of performance is an easy task.

      Drivers through every era of every form of motorsport have always wanted better tyres. More grip, more stability, more durability. The call is nothing new. Nor is the performance of the cars been deliberately managed by proscriptive tyre characteristics a new thing – remember when they made the tyres grooved? Remember when they made the tyres skinny? Remember when grooved tyres used to blister up if they weren’t gradually heat cycled? Remember how in qualifying and practice, drivers would go out and deliberately put heat cycles through the tyres to stop them falling to bits? Remember the 2005 US GP? Remember Nigel Mansell at Adelaide?

      An F1 car’s tyres are its single most stressed component; one which by nature has the shortest performance lifecycle. Pirrelli’s product is no different. Through all eras of F1, tyres have blisted, burst, delaminated, worn out, overheated, and straight-up exploded. Name me a single year in F1s long history where this was not the case.

      1. @mazdachris, an eloquent and fair defence. Accepting your challenge (whilst expecting to be shot down by “Anon”) I don’t recall the tyres, in general, being problematic during the 1960s.

      2. @mazdachris @hohum I agree, I think that’s fair as well.

        The one area where I would question Pirelli and the FIA’s approach in general is in their insistence on five standard compounds and a single construction to cover an entire season, forcing teams to adapt to the rubber. Why not bring just two types of tyres to each race for strategic variance, but actually build them according to the demands of each track and try to give teams the best possible tyres for each Grand Prix, varying both compound and construction?

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