Russell infuriated by series of “atrocious” starts

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In the round-up: George Russell says he and Williams team mate Nicholas Latifi are suffering from consistently poor starts.

What they say

Russell had the recovering Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas – who could be his team mate this weekend – in his mirrors for two laps during the race:

Throughout most of a season we’ve been making really poor starts as a team which is really frustrating because we’re losing all these positions off the line. It’s not like I’m losing them all in a battle or a mistake it’s just off the line. And it’s infuriating, really. So myself and Nicholas – obviously Nicholas was starting last so he didn’t lose position – but we both made equally atrocious starts.

We managed to improve it for the second one but ultimately we started 18th from that second restart and came back through to overtake the guys we were battling. Beat the Haas, the Alfas, kept Vettel behind us and I was managing to keep Valtteri at bay at one point which was an odd feeling.

So there’s clearly one thing for us to really work on because everything is undone in the space of four seconds. I lost all of those positions within five or 10 seconds.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

The new F2 and F3 race weekend format gives drivers too much incentive to holdback, says Steve:

I hate it. Overly complicated and just asking for competitors to “game the system” such as targeting 8-12th in qualifying or holding place in 12th in Race 1 instead of attacking as pole would be more beneficial and give the chance of more points.

If and its a big if they feel they need to do this and really want more “racing” by cars out of position why not do what they do in a lot of karting competitions? Three sprint races with random grid slots (so a driver will always have one near the front, one in the middle and one at the back) with the results from those deciding starting positions for the feature race where the majority of points are won. Most of the drivers will have experience of it and there would be no “gaming” it.
Steve Rogers (@Yossarian)

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16 comments on “Russell infuriated by series of “atrocious” starts”

  1. I was initially focused on the Mercedes seat and nothing else, but the tweet about Aitken has made me think, and what happens at Williams is just as important… maybe more so, as they’ve still got something to fight for. How do they put a value on Russell in this particular race?

    At a normal track I’d assume a near-certain zero points for Williams so it wouldn’t matter. But this Bahrain layout is a one-off… big demand on the power units, point-and-shoot with few corners. In theory lap time will be less about the car’s cornering ability and more about the power unit than normal. Unreliability might be an issue with aging units being run flat out so much, and it’s a layout style no one is going to be overly familiar with. Gaps probably won’t be massive due to the circuit nature, incidents could occur, SCs… tiny wings so DRS may be less effective, especially in DRS trains. And no one (with lack of practice) can drive that Williams as fast as Russell. If anyone’s going to luck into a points finish in that car, it’s him.

    Haas have 3 points and a Ferrari engine… P8 and Williams go into ninth in the championship. I know points are still an outside shot for them, and I could be wrong and we’ll get a dull procession with 20 finishers. But if I had to pick a handful of races from 2020 where I thought Williams would have the best chance of a few points, Sakhir would be one of them.

    1. @neilosjames I have to agree, this could be their best shot at getting points, and if I was Williams i’d be very reluctant to let him go. Mercedes however can offer a lot in any compensation Williams might want in return for him (if Mercedes want him that is). I think the popular fan vote is Hulk or Russell, but I suspect they’ll play safe and go for Vandoorne.

    2. I would kind of agree @neilosjames, @bernasaurus. But then, isn’t the Williams issue mostly with having quite draggy aero? So it will probably still struggle to gain much speed.

  2. Totally agree this is Williams best shot, but how would they seat-fit Russel into the Merc in Bahrain in only a few days? I guess Hulk was fitted into the RP v quickly but not in Bahrain. I can’t see how vandoorne isn’t the favorite for the merc just because of this. Which leaves Williams in with a shot of a point or 2 or maybe more.
    There could be a few more PU failures this week as they’re getting old towards the end of the season. That might also help the back-of-the-pack teams score points. And the 3 Ferrari teams will surely struggle…

    1. Pretty sure Russel already had a seat fit to test drive the Mercedes in the past though @scalextric

      1. Seemingly so. Didn’t think he’d been in this year’s car though. He’s also taller than Bottas and Hamilton so some new footbox items may be needed @bascb

        1. Yeah, despite tweeting that “it fits” they will have to change a few bits to make him able to drive. And I can imagine him having some issues like Hulk had with having to take out padding etc, to make room for his knees @scalextric

  3. really hope Russell gets his start perfectly with Mercedes this weekend and possibly at Abudhabi too!

    1. Thanks Mr Flintstone.

      Bottas has not been the best starter either so at least he will have a relatively low benchmark in his teammate.

      1. I guess we’ll see whether Bottas starts better from pole – on the racing line – than from Second or 4th (it did seem that Verstappen had his job cut out for himself starting in that second spot too, although he recovered better than Bottas did in the first start) @red-andy

      2. @red-andy Starting from P2 on a dirty track is just not the best way to go. Verstappen has had bad starts from P2 as well. Even on the restart in Bahrain, with the track already rubbered in from the first start he had to risk it all to shove Perez back.

  4. Very good to read the article by David Ward about how Grosjean surviving is the result of a systematic approach to making sure that accidents when they happen are survivable. I do hope the FIA will go at their procedures in exactly that manner to make sure we can avoid more accidents that nearly happened this year too.

    And off course we still need more work to do the same to avoid the millions of people who die each year from accidents on public roads.

  5. Big weekend for Russell then. Lots to learn, and not an easy place to learn it, but at least the layout is partly new to everyone. It’ll be tough for him, with qualifying already anticipated to be chaotic with the short lap.
    Also this will be the first time he’ll have to deal with lapped traffic, and anticipate more of it than on a longer circuit. I hope he does well now he has this chance.

  6. Good points by the COTD.

  7. And some people are infuriated by the “Ericsson hit us” meme after Russell’s Imola crash.
    And probably no one is infuriated by people wishing that Russell doesn’t get cursed every race.

  8. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
    2nd December 2020, 10:56

    I agree that the system theyve proposed now is needlessly complicated and is trash. Why don’t they use the format that European F3 used to use, which I believe was 3 races, second one is reverse order of race 1, and the third race was 2nd fastest quali time.

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