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Start Hungarian GP
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George Russell

How Russell brilliantly got Williams into Q3 at the Austrian GP

The British driver had his best ever F1 qualifying result in a Williams with a remarkable effort at the Red Bull Ring.

Article
To news overview © Williams

George Russell will start the Austrian Grand Prix from at least ninth on the grid, depending on whether Sebastian Vettel is awarded a penalty for blocking, as he gave Williams their best qualifying result since the 2018 Italian GP.

It was a phenomenal lap which got him into Q2 and it was coming. Last week at the Styrian GP, Russell missed out on the final part of qualifying by 0.004 seconds. This time, he scraped through by 0.006 seconds on the medium tyres.

Using the slower medium compound made it all the more remarkable and it gives Russell a golden opportunity to score his first points as a Williams driver on Sunday.

"It really felt like a pole position," Russell told RacingNews365.com and other select members of the press. To do it on the on the medium tyre was massive.

We were obviously debating prior to the session, in which order we do the Q2, whether it's a soft first followed by the medium, or vice versa.

"But we were pretty adamant we didn't want to go in the top 10 on the soft so we managed to pull that off. It's the most pumped up I've been since I last won a race."

Russell believes Williams made very few errors and the shortness of the Red Bull Ring which has just seven real corners gave him the chance to haul his car into Q3.

"I think on a circuit like this, it's so short, as a driver or as a team if you make a small mistake there's not enough time to make it back up," said Russell.

"I think we're really just getting every last little millisecond out of the car and probably making less mistakes than others.

"Everything just felt in the sweet spot to be honestly. It felt like a really, really sweet lap."

Article continues below image

Whilst the AlphaTauri and Aston Martin drivers of Pierre Gasly, Yuki Tsunoda, Lance Stroll and currently Sebastian Vettel will start ahead of Russell, the 2018 F2 champion has the advantage of starting on the medium tyres.

The four drivers directly ahead of him will start on the soft compound which had very high tyre wear on the long runs in practice. Russell had an engine issue at the Styrian GP and was running well.

This time, he has an even better opportunity and he described it as an "amazing" chance to score points.

"We think those tyres [the softs] are going to be disastrous in the race," added Russell. "It seems like they know something we don't.

"Hopefully they don't. But, we've got flexibility to do as we wish them the strategy, whereas I think those guys are pretty locked in.

"The mindset is always finish as high as possible. Obviously, we're starting from the highest position but I guess we've just got to have a clean first lap because we are truly in a strong position and we should have a real pace advantage on the mediums."

RN365 News dossier F1 2021 Austrian Grand Prix

The latest news about the Austrian Grand Prix straight from the Red Bull Ring.

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