Russell’s results show Williams “isn’t as bad as people think” – Verstappen

2021 Russian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen believes Williams deserve more credit for the performance of their FW43B chassis after the team took a second top-three place on the grid for this weekend’s race.

George Russell will start the Russian Grand Prix from third on the grid. He previously started second at the Belgian Grand Prix, one place behind Verstappen.

Russell will line up for tomorrow’s race behind Lando Norris’ McLaren and Carlos Sainz Jnr for Ferrari.

“Lando did a very good job and also Carlos, and George for sure, he’s a very, very good driver,” said Verstappen. “But when you can do these kind of things, it also shows that the car isn’t that bad [as] people think.

“He scored points and he had a good qualifying also in Spa. That car is not a Red Bull or a Mercedes, but they also run more wing and more downforce so naturally, everything just starts to become a bit closer. Nevertheless, he still did an amazing job. But I think people have to understand that car isn’t as bad as people think it is.”

Verstappen will start from the back of the grid after having a fresh power unit fitted to his Red Bull. He said he’ll need fortune on his side to come away with a strong result.

“It all depends on the first lap or things that happened during the race,” he said. “Of course I’ll try to score points, but I need a bit of help with things going a bit wrong at the front. But let’s see.”

His championship rival Lewis Hamilton missed out a vital opportunity to put his car on pole position after hitting the pit wall during the qualifying session and damaging his car. Verstappen, whose qualifying session was over by that point, was surprised by the error.

“You’ve gone into the pit entry a few times at that time, so I’d think he would understand how slippery it is.

“But I don’t know what happened. I quickly saw the replay, so I haven’t actually fully been watching it. Of course it would be better not to make that mistake, but I guess he knows that himself as well.”

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2021 Russian 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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14 comments on “Russell’s results show Williams “isn’t as bad as people think” – Verstappen”

  1. Its an obvious fact, unless you think NL is also a star of the future. He was up to 4th in Q3 and it held for
    awhile and stayed in the top 7 until almost the entire finished their final flying lap. And wasn’t he ahead of GR at the end of the session still just on the strength of that first run despite the track ramping up?

    1. I think several things about Russell and Williams.

      I think that if people rate him as a top driver, and Latifi as one of the worst, then that car has to be right up in the midfield now or Latifi simply wouldn’t be doing as well as he is. Latifi did indeed have one good lap early on in Q1, which was good enough to get through. And what is interesting is that Russell had his first attempt as well as two more, and he still couldn’t beat Latifi’s time despite the track improving considerably. It isn’t the only wet/damp race or qualifying where Latifi looked very good along side Russell. I think the car is actually very solid in the wet and it certainly very capable of Q3. Russel’s performances are still outstanding, but I’m actually not as convinced that he will have beaten Latifi by much at all.

      I get more annoyed with people effectively saying things like how amazing it is that such a time can be done “in a williams”. Many keep making it seem like it is still the worst team on the grid. The team has made a huge step forward this season and I still keep seeing jokes about how slow the car is such as these silly youtube videos that make the williams look much slower than it is. It may not always be where it is in the wet, but it isn’t a back marker any more.

      1. Aggreed, looks a bit like Sauber 4 years ago, when Leclerc scored points on several occasions. Leclerc was a great talent then, but the car had improved a lot that year.

        Reply moderated
      2. We know in modern era, really top drivers have about 2 tenths more speed than regular F1 drivers.. So that Williams must br close to whatever top driver George can extract out of it.

  2. BTW, the banner add are crazy. I can’t even see my reply as I type it. Just hVe to hope I get it right

  3. I think the balance of the car and the grip are quite alright. It’s just that they need to run a lot of wing to get that grip so they are slower everywhere. Having a good balance and running a lot of wing translates into an easier to drive car in the wet.
    More interesting is the fact that the low downforce/low drag McLaren is basically quite drivable in the wet.. so how good is that car really underneath the surface? And is that basis maybe an indication of a really competitive 2022 car? Slightly less aero assistance and more underbody downforce might suit McLaren even better than the current regs.

  4. Norris was brilliant, Russell is on cloud 9 and high on confidence and driving well and really happy about Carlos.

    Hopefully they’ll hold up the faster cars for a few laps and make them work for it.

  5. That’s twice Russell has beaten Mercedes in qualifying now. Quite something.

    I bet he will continue the risk strategy when he’s at Mercedes, unless Wolff or Vowles will ‘calibrate’ him not to.

    1. This.

      Mercedes dropped the ball, but George stole it and ran away with it.

    2. It will be interesting and very informative to see Russell in that Merc next year. It will provide insight into the quality of Bottas and Hamilton, which is long overdue. My prejudice is that Bottas is really mediocre, therefore Lewis not all that good and it was the Merc that won a lot of Lewis titles. But it’s a prejudice for sure. Let’s see. The change in regulation will distort the picture somewhat, that will work in Lewis advantage (the story of his life).

  6. Max already playing some mind games with George in anticipation of next year. The Williams is not as bad as it was in the last few years but if the car “isn’t as bad as people think” then Latifi would be higher up. Today was a combination of Williams getting the call right at the right time, having their aero deficiencies masked by the conditions, George putting in a hell of a lap, but mostly Lewis and Bottas being messed up by the consequences of Lewis’ pit lane crash.

    1. Latifi has been up there everytime it rained as well. Only not this weekend, he didn’t do a timed lap in Q2, because of the engine penalty. The Williams is damn good in the rain and especially in getting the tyres up to temp. Which is also the weakest point of it on hot days, with overheating the tyres and falling back through the field.

      Telling facts about a rivals cars has nothing to do with mind games.

      1. The Williams is good in the rain because of the Mercedes engine. Rain affected races are less reliant on aero and the deficiencies of a car’s aero are typically masked in wet races. Even Williams admit their aero is severely lacking. They removed a ton of drag from last year’s car without doing a complete redesign of their aero concept and as a result have a car that is the most aero sensitive on the grid. Latifi has an average qualifying position of 16 and an average race finish position of 15. That’s about where most people would classify the Williams this year. It is better than the Haas and the Alfa Romeo but there is a sharp difference up to teams like Aston, Alfa, Alpine and Williams. And yet George out qualified them all and typically qualifies better than most of them. Statistics don’t lie.

  7. Who knows..Williams may consider Redbull Powertrain in future.

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