Williams duo say they ‘pushed too hard’ as both crashed in Dutch GP qualifying
Williams looking good for a tilt at Q3 with both George Russell and Nicholas Latifi progressing to the second part of qualifying for the Dutch Grand Prix – before not one but both of them ended up in the barriers to bring out a red flag apiece…
Russell looked like he was on a lap quick enough to get into the top 10, but “pushed too hard” when his tyres were over the limit and lost control, sliding into the barriers at Turn 8. He recovered to the pits, but the team couldn’t get the damage sorted in time, bringing an end to his session.
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“We all want circuits that punish you and it certainly did,” said Russell, who ended 11th quickest. “I pushed too hard. I knew that lap would have been just good enough to promote me into the top 10 at that point in time. My tyres were over the limit, and I knew I had to attack the last corner to keep that speed up onto the straight – but ultimately I went too far.”
Latifi was a brilliant fifth in Q1 at Zandvoort, as Williams opted to run three sets of fresh softs – one more than usual – to ensure their safe progress. But after the session in Q2 restarted, following Russell’s crash, he got a wheel on the dirt heading into Turn 8 and lost the car, hitting the barriers hard.
After a minute or so, he was able to extricate himself from the car, and walk away unaided, and later said he felt fine. “Unfortunately, my only new set was the first red flag in Q2, so that kind of wasted that set,” said Latifi. “Surprisingly at the end, I went out on another used set of tyres. I was improving my lap time compared to what I did in Q1, which was on Q3 cut-off.
“People would have probably improved, but it would have been a decent lap, so I said, ‘well nothing to lose, might lose the tyres at the end, but just go for it, otherwise I’ll still be P15 anyway’. I misjudged the turn in point and clipped the grass.”
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Williams have plenty of work to do on both cars overnight, with Latifi saying he could be set for a move down the grid. “I will be surprised if we don’t take a gearbox penalty with the impact I had. Apologies to the team, as I know I left them a lot of work tonight.”
And despite the difficult day, Russell was optimistic about their chances, given how the car feels and the unknowns of racing on a new track.
“The car is feeling really good,” he said. “I have a good feeling. The fast and flowing section it feels exceptional – it’s just the slower speed, that tight section. I’m struggling to get that groove. Tomorrow will be an interesting race, 72 laps. The most anyone has done in a row is 15 laps, so how tyres will pan out over that stint will be interesting.”