George Russell, Williams, Red Bull Ring, 2021

Russell encouraged by ‘truly quick’ pace despite ‘cruel’ retirement

2021 Styrian Grand Prix

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A dejected George Russell blamed a “very rare” problem on his Williams for costing the team a points finish in the Styrian Grand Prix.

The missed opportunity prevented the team from moving up to eighth place in the constructors’ championship, Russell believes. However he drew encouragement from the team’s performance in Austria, describing it as “truly, pretty quick”.

“I do think that in the last few races we have just put things together incredibly well and everything has just been really well aligned and probably capitalised from other people’s mistakes,” explained Russell.

“So we have to perform at excellence and hope that others don’t. But nevertheless, P11 in qualifying, quite a good race last week in France – we would have been in the points today.

“Let’s not get too carried away with ourselves. Having just had two races like this, I think we need to see [it] again. Obviously we’ve done eight races so far and only two of which we’ve been truly, pretty quick. So it’s a real shame for everyone.”

After achieving his best qualifying result of the season on Saturday, the Williams driver was running in a comfortable eighth place in the race before a loss of pneumatic pressure in his car forced him ultimately into retirement.

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Russell admitted his frustration at being unable to convert Williams’ best chances of a points finish since 2019 through no fault of his own.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2021
Gallery: 2021 Styrian Grand Prix in pictures
“I think it was about 14 laps in when the team came on and said we need to do a two stop because of an issue,” he told Sky. “There was a very rare pneumatic issue on the car. They’re still looking into what happened.

“I don’t really know what to think to be honest. We were obviously having a great race. The team apologised on the radio, but there was no need. We’re in this together. We’re fighting. But it’s frustrating for sure. Racing’s cruel sometimes. It’s never straightforward, it’s never easy pickings.”

Russell believes the retirement may have cost his team an opportunity to secure eighth place in the constructors’ championship due to how valuable even minor points finishes can prove over the course of a season.

“I think we’re doing a really good job at the moment – and it definitely will come – but a day like today could’ve cemented P8 in the constructors’,” he said. “Alfa Romeo aren’t looking as strong these days. We’d have probably come away with four or six points today, which is pretty massive.”

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2021 Styrian Grand Prix

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Author information

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...
Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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13 comments on “Russell encouraged by ‘truly quick’ pace despite ‘cruel’ retirement”

  1. His fate was a shame considering he was running in the top ten.

  2. Gotta feel for him.

    1. I don’t care for Russell but he does seem to be jinxed. Even when he gets his chance at Mercedes and was leading the race it all fell appart.

  3. The new Hulkenburg.

    1. Coventry Climax
      28th June 2021, 0:21

      Doubt it. That would require another dozen of years or so of the same. Hulk often seemed to throw it away all by himself, this is nothing of the sort.

  4. Amazing stuff by Russell and Williams. Shame it had to end without points.

  5. The most cursed driver in F1 history since Nico Hülkenberg and Luca Badoer.

    1. Luca Badoer was really abysmal, besides unlucky

      1. And hulk never got a chance in a top team, russel did and some (me included) now consider him a top driver.

      2. Does anyone know any other?

  6. A bummer for sure but at least he gets another crack at the track next weekend, now with the knowledge that they can not just get into the top 10 but stay there.

    1. Yes, hopefully some more luck, he really deserves some point.

  7. The dude was keeping pace with Alonso in the Alpine in front and was able to relatively stresslessly hold Tsunoda in the AT behind, and seemingly only needed to drop back before the pitstop due to the problem he had.

    If next weekend is similar, then he should still be able to keep pace with Alonso and that half of the midfield.
    If he can qualify near or in front of the Alpines, then there’s every possibility he can finally score for Williams.

    I’ve just jinxed it again, haven’t I ._.

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