Williams’s head of vehicle performance Dave Robson revealed that George Russell’s poor start in today’s Sprint Qualifying was caused by the Brit over engaging the clutch, causing him to suffer wheelspin on the grid.
In the week that it was announced that Russell would be leaving the team to join Mercedes in 2022, with Alex Albon announced as his replacement to partner Nicholas Latifi, Williams has had a testing weekend so far at Monza, with Russell managing the 15th fastest time in Qualifying whilst Nicholas Latifi was 16th quickest after a troubled Q1.
In the Sprint Qualifying, Russell made a poor getaway and fell to 17th at the end of the opening lap, with the Brit stuck behind Nikita Mazepin until Lap 6 in what was a tricky Sprint Qualifying for both Williams cars, with Latifi leading Russell home in 14th, making row 7 on the grid an all Williams's affair.
Robson later revealed to selected media outlets, including Motorlat.com, that Russell’s poor start was caused by him engaging the clutch too much, which then caused wheelspin and saw him fall back behind Latifi and Yuki Tsunoda in the run down to the Lesmo corner.
“He didn’t quite hit the target that we asked for, which was the ultimate problem, so he engaged the clutch a bit too much with the wheelspin, and it kind of spiralled out of control as it does.”
“Whilst, on the other hand, Nicky was within the very small margin of what we had asked him to target, and his start was actually exceptionally good, so I think it is just on this occasion it was just part of that randomness and that difficulty and dexterity of the fingers dropping in the exact target at the right speed, so it’s all part and parcel.”
Despite a testing weekend so far, Robson remains hopeful that the team can get a good result in tomorrow’s Grand Prix, with the team hopeful of picking up positions from both of the Aston Martins and Alpines.
“I think we’ll get more out of then the Sprint race with everyone just going round DRSing off each other, overtaking was pretty difficult, and I think over the full Grand Prix distance tomorrow theirs a few more opportunities, through the strategy and generally a longer race with the field more spread out, so theirs definitely an opportunity to go forward.”
“I don’t think Nicky was a whole lot slower than the four cars ahead of him, the two Alpine’s and the two Aston Martins, so I think we’ve got our sights set on them, so hopefully something will happen up the front, and we’ll inherit a couple of places as well.”