George Russell, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2021

Williams ‘felt the best it ever has’ despite late slide to 14th – Russell

2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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George Russell said his Williams was far better to drive in yesterday’s Spanish Grand Prix, despite dropping out of contention for a points finish in the latter stages of the race.

Calmer, less windy conditions during yesterday’s race meant his car handled more predictably than it had at the previous round in Portugal, he explained.

“We did a really good job with the car,” said Russell after the race. “The car felt today the best it’s ever felt, to be honest, in a race, probably the best I can ever remember.

“That just makes it so joyous to drive compared to normal. Most of which I put down to just a calm day. We know the beast we have.”

Following the last race in Portugal, Russell said he and team mate Nicholas Latifi need calm weather conditions to be able to get the best out of the FW43B.

“It was just a calm and consistent day today. The wind was less than 10 kilometres an hour with minimal gusts, which just made the car consistent to drive.

“And when it’s consistent, as a driver, you can drive around it. And I think that’s something Nicholas and I have really struggled with, especially in Portimao, that was really exposed, it was just incredibly inconsistent.

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“As a driver you lose all the confidence, then it has a negative effect on the tyres and then you just have this downward spiral. Whereas in days like today when the car’s nice and consistent, as a driver can really push it to its limit, you can manage the car as you wish, manage the tyres as you wish and really optimise everything.

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“Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure a lot of people felt like their car felt better today. But I think we take a bigger jump in both directions when these conditions are favourable or not.”

Russell ran as high as 10th in the latter stages of the race, before slipping to 14th place as his tyres degraded. However he praised the team’s ambitious strategy, having pitted under an early Safety Car period in the hope of being able to run to the end without taking fresh tyres again.

He spent much of the race running close behind Fernando Alonso, but doubted he could have finished higher if he’d passed the Alpine.

“We did a really great job pitting under the Safety Car at the beginning, effectively almost doing a one-stop.

“Had I just managed to clear Alonso then who knows? I think actually having Alonso ahead of me helped keep those faster cars behind because I had the DRS. They have half a second of car pace and probably one second of tyre pace. It would have been an incredible task.

“But I’m really pleased that we rolled the dice and we found ourselves in that position.”

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2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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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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2 comments on “Williams ‘felt the best it ever has’ despite late slide to 14th – Russell”

  1. I’m a bit puzzled by Williams strategy, it felt like a good idea to pit their cars and gain position but the freaked out when other cars pitted around them and were faster than them. That was a really short second stint and I don’t get why they didn’t extend it longer to either have track position or clear pace difference by being out of sync to most other cars.
    They could have at least tried with one of the car and split them. Maybe they felt they had to defend track position and we don’t get all data and full picture…

  2. Flattered by the decision to stop under the safety car which ended up being a near-optimal two stop strategy, when the rest of the field were still waiting for the window where a one-stop might work. But at least they were clearly ahead of the Haas this time around, rather than suffering the embarrassment of being split by them.

    Points in normal circumstances are still well beyond the team. Sad to see how far they fell during the Claire Williams years.

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