George Russell, Williams, Istanbul Park, 2021

Russell would have reached Q3 “by quite a large margin” without error

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In the round-up: George Russell’s final corner error in Q2 denied him another appearance in the top 10 shoot-out, his team believe.

In brief

Russell’s error costs him another Q3 appearance

Williams’ head of vehicle performance, Dave Robson, said that George Russell’s final Q2 lap would have been good enough to make Q3 “by quite a large margin as it turned out” – had the driver not run wide at the damp final corner.

“That’s what happened in those conditions sometimes,” Robson explained. “But he’d have definitely made it.”

McLaren’s pace better on medium than soft tyres

After a frustrating qualifying session for McLaren, team principal Andreas Seidl said the team’s performance seems to be worst on the sot tyres, which are unlikely to be used by many in the race.

“Hopefully, starting the race on the medium tyres we’ll be able to look a little bit better than what we could show today on the soft tyres, where we struggled already yesterday as well,” he said.

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Istanbul Park, 2021
Fragile softs don’t suit McLaren’s car
“I think Q2 actually looked a bit better for us on medium tyres, but there will be no miracles. We simply don’t have the pace for this weekend. We know the reasons why. But still, we will try with both cars tomorrow to move forward and to score points.”

Tsunoda: pace “completely different” on track after rain

The rain which fell on Saturday morning at Istanbul Park completley changed the track’s characteristics when it dried out, said Yuki Tsunoda.

“After the rain condition, the pace went completely different,” said Tsunoda, who qualified tenth.

Tsunoda is the only driver who reached Q3 who will have to start the race on soft tyres, having used two sets to get through to Q2. However, he believes that was the right call from the AlphaTauri team, given the changed circumstances.

“From practice pace, even if I’d fitted the medium tyre it would have been possible to go through to Q3,” he said. “But straight away from Q1 I didn’t feel the same feeling and there just wasn’t much pace in the car. So definitely a good choice that the team made for going to the soft tyre.”

Saucy wins 2021 Formula Regional Europe title

Gregoire Saucy has clinched the 2021 Formula Regional European Championship title with three races to go. The regional F3-grade series was decided conclusively, Saucy on 249 points to second-placed Hadrien David’s 161, after 17 races, of which Saucy won eight.

Following the second race of the weekend at Mugello today the championship will conclude at Monza.

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Comment of the day

Sometimes it’s the offhand comments that spark something; Dieter observed in his diary that there’s a risk, with 2022’s regulation change, of teams locking themselves into a disadvantage. Roger Ayles shared some extensive thoughts on whether that might be likely.

That is a concern that I have, Not just for the 1st year of the new regulations but also future seasons.

A team (be it at the front or back of the grid) getting it wrong and going into the season struggling is part of the game but the regulations and development opportunities been so restrictive then creating a situation where they essentially have to completely write that season because they aren’t able to do anything to recover is in my opinion not correct and does nothing to benefit the sport or fans.

Think of 2009 as an example. Watching teams having to develop to catch up to Brawn created some extra interest and eventually helped give us a more competitive fight for the championship. Likewise that year watching McLaren and to a lesser extent Ferrari start out so badly but recover to win a few races was again fantastic to watch and created that bit of additional interest over the season, Especially for those of us who love that technical/development aspect of the sport.

The restrictiveness of the regulations and apparently limited opportunities to develop or innovate is to me the biggest negative element going forward. Not just because I don’t think restrictive regulations are simply not F1 but also because that side of the sport, The ‘extremes’ are a huge part of the draw of it for me. It’s part of what hooked me and a part of what’s kept me hooked for as long as I have been.

Happy birthday!

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On this day in motorsport

  • 45 years ago today James Hunt won the United States Grand Prix, setting up a final-round title showdown with Niki Lauda, who came in third behind Jody Scheckter. Ferrari clinched the constructors championship.


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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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11 comments on “Russell would have reached Q3 “by quite a large margin” without error”

  1. Maybe it’s my age, but I must admit to being more and more confused by the intricacies of the rules of modern F1. Even on an absolutely standard weekend without a sprint race, sorry, sprint qualifying I still really don’t know who got pole position today. If the drivers can’t work it out, what hope is there for us mere mortals?

    1. Pole position is the first grid slot at race start, Derek. There needn’t be any confusion.
      Nobody gets pole position on a Saturday in F1 – they can only be the fastest (or highest positioned) qualifier.

    2. I still really don’t know who got pole position today.

      It has always be like this!

      This has probably the ‘stablest’ of all all regulations; showing your age if you’re “more and more confused” ;)

  2. Motogp used to go to thailand, guess not anymore.
    we just got rid of Romain and you want him back again?
    I’m sorry but in my view it is Ham’s pole, the penalty whilst pending, is and can only be applied after q.

    1. @peartree They will be able to fulfill any existing contracts with Thailand; however, the Formula E race that’s been being mulled over (fairly unsuccessfully) in Jakarta is very unlikely to be viable.

  3. I doubt Grosjean would want an F1 return unless for competitive machinery.

    COTD: Given budget cap, wind tunnel time, more prescriptive design, PU development freeze, etc., I doubt anyone would lock themselves into an advantage or disadvantage, but we’ll see.

  4. I believe Grosjean is relocating his family to the US as part of his move to Andretti, so if he is still “Swiss-based” he won’t be for much longer.

    1. But he will always remain ‘Swiss-born’ as is the team ;)

  5. Something I thought of when reading the COTD is how engine development was initially restricted at the start of the current V6 Turbo Hybrid era with that token system & how that may very well have prolonged the engine advantage that Mercedes had in the era phase of the formula.

  6. Why of course Russell would have made it to Q3 by a large margin without his error. But, and this is the but, he did make an error. This is the part of any drivers weekend that needs to get right. We can argue till hell freezes over about what might have happened. All of that is just meaningless. Get it right then we have a conversation. Simple really.

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