The second half of the 2021 season has been extremely positive for Williams and George Russell, with Russell now adding a fourth points finish with the team to his resume, all coming from the past five races.
The Russian Grand Prix in Sochi started positively for Russell as he claimed a stellar P3 in a changeable qualifying. Sunday would prove difficult however, with faster cars starting behind, Russell was under pressure from lights out.
An admirable performance saw Russell defend from the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll and the McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo behind him to hold onto his starting position during the opening stages of the race. Following the pit stop phase however, Russell dropped back to P15. Once again taking advantage of the changeable weather conditions, Russell was able to take his Williams as far as P10 on intermediate tyres when rain struck in the closing stages of the race.
Discussing his and the team's performance, Russell said: “I thought we had a really strong race today, I don’t think we could have expected much more to be honest. We know the pace of the car; if we’d pitted early, if we’d pitted late, everybody else would have found a way around us.
“The likes of Mercedes are two seconds a lap faster than us, and everyone else probably a second of a lap faster,” he added. “So to keep them behind was really tricky. The final few laps in the wet were really not good, we really struggled. But I think it was [because] we had used intermediate tyres.
“We went through all of our sets of inters throughout qualifying yesterday, so they were already like a slick before putting them on. So just had no grip out there and lost two positions. So P8 was the maximum out there today, but we’ll take P10.”
While Russell was unable to keep pace with the race leaders to take full advantage of his qualifying performance, he remained positive, highlighting the team finished in a position which they deserved.
“The performance on the slicks was really good,” said Russell. “All round, from the team and from within the car, I felt really happy and confident so I don’t think the race could have gone much better.
“We obviously dreamt of having an amazing result, but that was not realistic. And today, we finished where we probably deserved to finish.”
Williams’ sustained run of form following the summer break has allowed them to jump Alfa Romeo in the constructors championship, in which they currently sit P8 on 23 points.