Russell says French Grand Prix was ‘best race I’ve ever had with Williams’
George Russell was over the moon with his French Grand Prix performance and, while he missed out on a first World Championship point with Williams, he marked the Paul Ricard rollercoaster as his best race for the team so far.
The Briton out-qualified team mate Nicholas Latifi by 0.002s on Saturday for P14 on the grid and dropped down to 17th when the lights went out, but recovered after his Lap 17 pit stop (from which he emerged 19th) and sparred with the likes of Yuki Tsunoda and Esteban Ocon to finish 12th – Russell's best result of the season.
"Yes, it was a really good afternoon," he began after the race. "[We had] a couple of overtakes, managed to finish ahead of Ocon, the Alfas, Tsunoda. Managed to overtake Tsunoda on track – really happy about that to be honest.
"We were there on merit, the car was [fast], that strategy was really well managed, so I’d go as far as saying that’s probably our best race we’ve ever had together with Williams," he explained.
The 23-year-old added that he was happy with his tyre-management efforts on Sunday too, as he kept them in the optimal temperature window throughout before unleashing a move on Tsunoda's AlphaTauri right at the end of the race.
He continued: "It was that limit between keeping the temperature in [the tyres] but not graining them: if you pushed too hard you had a chance of graining them; if you went too slow they would drop out the window.
"So you’re just balancing this throughout the whole race but we did it really, really well, and like I said, happy to have managed to do the move at the end."
The only blot on his day? Russell said it was his fall from 14th to 17th at the start, which hampered his efforts to get maiden points for Williams. While they left France empty handed, he said they will be encouraged by a massive step-up in performance with Austria's double-header up next.
"It was a shame about those opening laps; I made a really bad start, really struggled, but I don’t think it changed a really huge amount. At the end, I think P12 was our absolute maximum. It was just a shame nothing really happened in front because P12 in merit for us is really strong," he concluded.