RACE DEBRIEF

    One Williams started third in Russia and ran there for much of the first part of the race, but Nicholas Latifi was not surprised to face a very different afternoon from his starting position.

    George Russell excelled in wet conditions in qualifying and a late lap on slicks saw him secure third on the grid, with the future Mercedes driver targeting a podium. Holding that position off the line, Russell was third when he came in for his first pit stop, showing how the Williams can defend from quicker cars thanks to its straight-line speed.

    Latifi had been quicker in Q1 but then didn’t set a time in Q2 due to a power unit change and his starting spot from the back of the grid put him in a position that did not play to the car’s strengths.

    READ MORE: Unpicking the six laps that turned the Russian GP upside down – and how Bottas played a key role in Hamilton’s win

    I got caught out on the slicks and got one big snap and with no stopping power in the spin and into the barrier.

    Nicholas Latifi

    “You never know what’s going to happen, but I’ve said many times before that our car if you’re in a good position up front then it’s a car you can defend with, but it’s not really a car you can attack with,” Latifi said.

    “It was frustrating behind Nikita [Mazepin] because I was much quicker but there’s just limitations that we have that when you’ve got to attack and be the one putting the pressure on it’s just really, really difficult.

    “So once I was by myself on the prime stint the car felt very nice to drive, probably one of the nicest it has felt - I don’t know what the pace was at that time but in the end we were 20 seconds back on the road so it wasn’t going to amount to anything. So just a frustrating weekend.”

    READ MORE: Russell says converting P3 grid slot to Russian GP podium was ‘not realistic’ after claiming P10 in Sochi

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    Latifi believes that while he can defend in a Williams, attacking is much harder - as seen in Russia

    While Russell eventually ended up 10th, Latifi’s race ended with a retirement six laps from the chequered flag and he was one of many drivers to hit trouble when the rain started falling.

    “Just with the rain coming down I got caught out on the slicks and got one big snap and with no stopping power in the spin and into the barrier. There was some damage, I’m not sure of the extent but it was not worth the carry-on because we weren’t playing for anything in the end.

    “We were so far back from just getting stuck behind Nikita on the opening stint and the race kind of came undone there.”

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