George Russell produced another excellent showing in qualifying at his home Grand Prix to get his Williams into Q3 for a second consecutive event.
After getting through to Q2 by finishing P14 in Q1, the 23-year-old stepped it up in the middle segment of qualifying to put in the 7th best time and delivered an exceptional lap in Q3 to qualify 8th, ahead of Sainz in the Ferrari. He was only 0.074s slower than fellow Brit Lando Norris who placed P6 in Q3.
Russell was understandably buzzing after qualifying and was grateful for the support from his home crowd after they couldn't attend last year because of the pandemic.
“Incredible support and amazing feelings. You know, it’s my second Q3 with Williams on the bounce and we’re just on this roll at the moment. Being here, and seeing everyone together, it's just great. I had a bit of a rubbish FP1, so I knew we had to step it up in quali and we did that.”
The performance from the Williams driver was even more impressive as he had finished slowest of all in FP1 and looked all at sea heading into qualifying. He couldn’t explain the stunning turnaround post-qualifying.
“I don’t know to be honest. The track was a bit green and we were a bit lost in the set up, so we just said ‘let’s go back to basics, don’t overthink it and let the track come to us’.
“I went out first lap in Q1 and knew we were in a good spot. I’m buzzing to be honest. Also my family are here – they haven’t been to a race since Abu Dhabi 2019, so that’s great for me as well and so nice to do it in front of them.”
Tomorrow will see the first-ever ‘F1 Sprint’ race take place. Williams has tended to go backwards in race trim but Russell plans to go for it and gain places to set the grid for the main race on Sunday afternoon.
“I think a lot of guys will be playing it a bit easy because they want to get a good starting position for Sunday,” he reasoned. “But we’re going for it. It’s another race for me and I want to go forward, I want to fight with these guys around me and get the best possible starting position for Sunday. I’m treating it like any normal race and just going for it.”
What a feeling... your support was something else today!— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) July 16, 2021
We did that together. Thank you. 🇬🇧❤️