There has been a very strong mutual respect between George Russell and Fernando Alonso in 2021 and yesterday they fought for the final point in the closing stages of the Austrian Grand Prix.
Russell, whose tyres were two laps older than Alonso’s, valiantly defended from the Alpine for over ten laps before the Spaniard eventually got the move done with DRS on the run down to turn four with five laps to go as the Williams star ran out of grip near the end.
Alonso, whose weekend was ruined because of a block on him in qualifying, conceded that he wished it was anyone but Russell who was in P10 when chasing the final points-scoring spot.
"I felt a little bit sad for George because he drove an amazing weekend," said Alonso during an interview with Sky Sports F1 after the race. "When I saw P10 was him, I was hoping it was anyone apart from him in that spot!
"But I had much better tyres, much better traction out of Turn Three and I could make the move three laps to the end."
Alonso added: "He will have more opportunities for podiums and wins in the future."
Speaking about his fight with Alonso, Russell admitted he wished it hadn’t been the two-time World Champion behind him because of his experience and the speed he had shown throughout the weekend. The British star missed out on scoring his first point for Williams again as he finished 11th.
"I was driving as hard as I could as fast as I could, and then into the end if you could choose any guy to have behind you, you probably wouldn't choose Fernando," said Russell.
"It was very tricky... with all of his experience, and speed as well," said Russell. "Yesterday [in qualifying] he was very very fast and he should have finished inside the top five.
"Trying to keep him behind, and with his speed this weekend, it probably never would have happened."
George Russell wanted a point... Instead, he got a hug from the man who dubbed him a future champion 🤗— Formula 1 (@F1) July 4, 2021
So tantalisingly close to that first point for Williams#AustrianGP 🇦🇹 #F1 pic.twitter.com/JwTdYRf5YZ