Russell says Williams drivers 'need to be patient' for more downforce
It was a performance that could easily have been overlooked. George Russell ended the Austrian Grand Prix 18th, ahead of Kevin Magnussen’s Haas and Williams team mate Robert Kubica. More impressive was the fact that Russell started from the pits.
Receiving a three-place grid penalty for impeding Daniil Kvyat in qualifying, Russell quickly caught up to the back of the pack and even overtook Kvyat and Kubica on lap two.
“I wasn’t really expecting that,” he said after the race. “I managed to take Robert and Dani Kvyat at once, which was surprising and nice, and then managed to hold up Magnussen in the latter half of the race."
While Williams are still uncompetitive, sitting last in the constructors’ championship without a point, Russell saw signs of improvement for the squad.
“We’re obviously still a long way behind but there are some positives to take… We need to be patient now and wait for some downforce to come to the car."
And his performance certainly didn’t fly under the radar.
“I was pushing absolutely flat out every single lap, and I’m glad some people noticed it,” added the British rookie.
Those signs of improvement from Williams were evident throughout the Spielberg weekend, as Russell completed a fastest lap of 1m 06.805s in the first practice session, just 0.049s behind Racing Point’s Lance Stroll.
Even Stroll, who – hampered by an engine issue – finished 14th, conceded “we didn’t have the pace of the Williams – we were slower,” as Russell matched his speed in the first 10 laps of the race.
Russell may not be scoring points yet, but he has now finished all nine Grands Prix to date in his maiden F1 season, with best results of 15th in Bahrain, Azerbaijan and Monaco.