George Russell, Williams, Sochi Autodrom, 2020

Russell understands tyre problem which left him “disappointed and worried” after race

2020 Russian Grand Prix

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George Russell said it was “a relief” to get to the bottom of the tyre problems which he said were the cause of his poor result in the Russian Grand Prix.

The Williams driver finished last of the 18 runners at the end of the race after making a late, third pit stop for fresh tyres. He fought for position with Alexander Albon and Lando Norris earlier in the race, but dropped back after locking up one of his tyres.

“It was great to be battling with those guys,” said Russell. “Obviously, for me to be trying to hold up a Red Bull and a McLaren was very, very tricky.

“But we had really good straight-line speed this weekend, which actually made that much easier to keep them behind. And there was a good amount of respect between the three of us, which made it great.”

He admitted his lock-up “did actually hurt the race quite a bit” but said it wasn’t the reason he had to make an extra pit stop.

“We still would have had to pit from the hard because the hard would not have been able to make it to the end,” he said. “So unfortunately the pace just wasn’t there in the race today.”

The team’s post-race investigation produced some answers about why Russell had difficulty with his tyres during the race.

“I was very confused when I finished the race where the pace had gone,” he said. “We do know now why we had no pace in the race so that’s actually positive.

“It is a relief for me now because I was actually pretty disappointed and worried directly the race. We understand what went wrong today.”

Russell revealed his tyres were running hotter than he thought they were during the race. “We had a tyre temperature issue, so the tyres were running much, much hotter than we expected and than I was reading on my steering wheel. And that just sort of misled us a little bit.

“Long story short, the tyres were just running well over the window and obviously if the tyres are too hot and you keep pushing on them, they just degrade.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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6 comments on “Russell understands tyre problem which left him “disappointed and worried” after race”

  1. That does raise the question: why were they apparently measuring wrong, too low, temperatures and only found out about it after the race? But, good for them learning something and able to, presumably, improve that soon. Seeing that Russell with cart/F2 friends fight definitely was one highlight of the race for me, great to see him able to show what he’s capable of in a race, even if in the end he couldn’t hold on.

  2. I really like Russell, I don’t know how “racy” he is because so far he’s not had the equipment beneath him in F1 to showcase his talent. But he seems very mature and always seems to provide valuable feedback to his team, he seems like a real asset to Williams.

    He’s one of the drivers I’m most excited about in terms of seeing future careers develop.

    1. @geekzilla9000 Me too, but he seems to making too many mistakes to be the new next thing that I though he might be, although I know in the worst car it’s more easy to make mistakes, and also to appear to do so, like in this case.

  3. I found it wondrous there is always something compromising his race while rookie Latifi finishes close to him. After 10 races, a trend is appearing and Russell isn’t looking to good in race trim.

  4. I really like Russell. I think his qualifying skills is one of the best in F1 right now.
    But in race he is being a litle bit disapointing. I think the issue is not really the race trim itself, but the way he deals with track battles and race events. For example, he qualifies frequently in front of the Haas and Alfas, he seems to have pace to be faster than them during the race, but he is frequently overtaken by them and he rarely overtakes them.
    His Mugello race was particulary disappointing, he had it all to finish 9th but again he failed on the track battles of the restart.
    Latifi is much slower than him, but seems to be much better capitalizing when he is in a good position. For example, in Monza race events put Latifi well placed and he was able to keep the good place he had and he even passed Raikkonen in the end for a 11th place.

    I watch F1 for several decades and I got very suspicious when somebody is beaten by his teammate multiple times and complains several times about issues. Not a good sign at all.

    1. I think last year, the car was clearly behind everyone else in the pack, so comparisons were difficult to make. This year, we know the car behaves very poorly when in dirty air. I suspect his qualy performances are failry close to the mark of his skill as a driver, and his race performance is being compromised significantly, but it might just be me seeing the glass as half full rather than half empty

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