‘Racing is just brutal’ – Russell ‘gutted’ as mechanical issues ruin great chance of first Williams points
In his young career, George Russell has endured his fair share of racing heartache [remember Sakhir last year?], but his latest setback – retiring after looking comfortably on course to score his first ever points for Williams in the Styrian Grand Prix – looked to hurt every bit as much as any other moment.
Having started P10 on the favourable medium tyres, Russell ran a strong P8 for more than a third of the race before a power unit issue became apparent. Williams tried to manage the problem, but to no avail with the Briton eventually having to park up.
“I’m just gutted for the team to be honest,” said Russell, the hurt evident in his voice after his latest missed chance to score points for the Grove team.
“You know, they’ve worked so hard to be in this position over the past three years, chasing these points. We never really knew when they would come and we knew we’d have to have a perfect weekend and, you know, we were in such a great position – P8, on the medium tyre – we would have been able to pounce at the end.
“And I think P7 was probably possible, ahead of Alonso and there’s four or six points, is massive. It’s the difference probably between P8 and P10 in the championship.”
Asked if he was surprised by his strong pace, Russell replied: “I wasn’t surprised to be honest because I know we’ve done some really great work recently to improve the car and I knew the pace on Friday was strong,. I was obviously on the mediums [tyres] compared to the guys ahead on the softs, so I was driving my heart out, driving as fast as I could to keep behind the Ferrari and AlphaTauri and McLaren, you know? We’re not normally in this position so we should be proud of the job we did. Racing is just brutal.”
The only silver lining for Russell is that F1 returns to race on the very same Red Bull Ring again in seven days' time, giving him a chance to prove both his and Williams’ pace once more.
The 23-year-old admitted that did give him hope: “Yes of course,” he said. “It’s obviously different, we have different compound of tyres next week to play a big part into it all. But you know, we did things perfectly until that point and repeating that and relying on others to not do things perfectly is not easy.
“And that’s the thing for us, we know that these opportunities don’t come every day and we have to do everything great, and others need to make mistakes for us to capitalise and today was that day for us. This is racing, it’s not meant to be easy.”
Williams remain ninth in the constructors’ championship after eight races, one place above Haas on race results, even though both teams are yet to score.