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Russell says Monaco good practice for fighting with rivals in future

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MONTE CARLO, MONACO - MAY 26: George Russell, Williams Racing FW42, leads Lance Stroll, Racing

Williams’ 2019 struggles are well documented at this point – but the team had something to smile about following the Monaco Grand Prix, after a sterling drive by rookie George Russell saw him finish 15th for the third time this year, but crucially ahead of both Alfa Romeos, team mate Robert Kubica and the Racing Point of Lance Stroll. And according to Russell, the race was good practice for the time when he’ll be fighting with his rivals on a more consistent basis…

Russell was one of several drivers to pit under the Safety Car brought out on Lap 11 after Charles Leclerc’s delaminating tyre spread debris across the track. From there, he was then able to keep pace with the cars around him to work his way up to 15th by the race end. Still no points, alas, but valuable experience for Russell of fighting with drivers other than his own team mate for the first time in 2019.

I wanted to test myself and really push the limits because when the time comes when we are fighting I need to be ready

George Russell

“It was positive, really positive,” said Russell after the race. “We weren’t really fighting for anything, but I was treating it like I was. I wanted to sort of test myself and really push the limits because when the time comes when we are fighting I need to be ready.”

Russell’s best lap of the race was just 0.046s slower than that of Haas’ Kevin Magnussen – and the Briton revealed that he’d received some surprising news mid-race about how strong his pace had been in the Williams...

“My engineer came on the radio at some point and said we’re lapping at the same pace as the leaders, so I was quite shocked by that,” he said. “They obviously had an issue or something but I was really pleased with my performance.”

That flash of midfield-combating pace will have been a refreshing tonic for a Williams team short on good news so far this year – and hopefully allow them a platform on which to build in the remaining 15 races of the season. Russell’s impressive rookie season in trying circumstances, meanwhile, continues apace...

George Russell: A 'really positive' day in the car

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