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George Russell

Russell reveals British GP 'fear' with rivals lurking

George Russell bagged a maiden British Grand Prix pole position in qualifying at Silverstone - the first non-Lewis Hamilton home pole since Damon Hill in 1996.

Russell Silverstone
To news overview © XPBimages

Pole-sitter George Russell feared an ignominious exit from British Grand Prix qualifying as the wet weather caused chaos.

The final practice session was held in wet conditions with Q1 starting in the rain, and with showers bubbling up throughout the qualifying hour at Silverstone. 

Russell just squeaked through Q1 and would go on to snatch pole position and lead a British 1-2-3 on the grid - the first since Jim Clark, Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart at the 1968 South African GP - as Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris slotted in behind.

It is Russell's second pole of the season after Canada, and his third overall, but the Mercedes driver has revealed how he felt he was on the cusp of a humiliating early exit in the first two segments.

"From Turn 6 to Turn 9, I gained a lot, Turns 6 and 7 were mega," Russell told media including RacingNews365. 

"There was a big headwind through there so I braked really, really late and I just could carry the speed through the corners, but the car was just on rails. 

"I just felt so confident in it. Q3, we really turned it up because Q1 and Q2 were very, very challenging. I felt like I was about to get knocked out at various points. 

"The track improved in every single lap, and probably going into Q3 was the most pressure I've ever felt in a qualifying session because in the whole Q1 and Q2 runs, it was like on the verge of getting knocked out every single occasion. 

"I wasn't feeling that confident with myself, but as soon as I went through Turn 1 and 2 in Q3, I felt good and managed to do the lap."

Victory chances for Russell

Assessing his chances to fight for a first British GP win, Russell felt the Mercedes was still a step behind third-place starter Norris and Max Verstappen in fourth, and hoped the changeable weather could aid his challenge.

"Realistically, we know we're probably a tenth or two behind Lando and Max, but I think we've got a good fight on our hands," he explained.

"But the weather's going to play a huge part in that. It's been raining and drying up throughout the last couple of days, there's a bit of rain on the forecast [for the race].

"We're probably on course for another Montreal-style race where it's going to be very changeable, so it's going to be a long race.

"We're riding this wave right now, but it doesn't mean anything because [the race] is where the points are scored, but we're obviously in a great position to fight for victory."

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