Russell targeting points and ‘maximum attack’ with quick Williams after P11 in qualifying

George Russell (GBR) Williams Racing FW43B.
Portuguese Grand Prix, Friday 30th April 2021.

George Russell has an eye on his first Formula 1 points for Williams this weekend after a stellar performance in qualifying for the Portuguese Grand Prix put him 11th on the grid.

The Briton has earned the nickname “Mr Saturday”, his speed over one-lap in qualifying arguably the strongest trait in his arsenal, and he delivered once more at Portimao, missing out on Williams’ first Q3 appearance since Monza 2018 by just 0.05s.

READ MORE: Bottas denies Hamilton his 100th F1 pole as Mercedes lock out the front row at Portimao

“We were very fast in practice one and have just been struggling ever since,” he said. “In qualifying, everything came alive again.

“I had lots of confidence and we did a fantastic job to qualify 11th - it’s our best result ever in these past three years on a Saturday – so I’m really happy.”

'Everything came alive' in qualifying for George Russell

Russell will be the best-placed car outside the top 10 on the mediums, with several cars in front on the less durable soft – and that has given Russell hope for a strong result to bounce back from his collision with Valtteri Bottas in Imola.

“We’re on the medium tyre for the start tomorrow,” said Russell. “The rivals around us, who are ahead, will be on the softs, which is not a great race tyre. So we’re in a great position.”

READ MORE: Disappointed Verstappen says he 'didn't enjoy one single lap this weekend' on way to P3 in qualifying

This is a track where overtaking is possible, but Russell hailed Williams’ impressive straight-line speed around the venue – something which he hopes will allow them to focus ahead rather than behind.

“It’s a good start, a good first lap,” said Russell when asked what the key will be to getting points. “We have the straight-line speed. The guys behind us will really struggle to overtake us, so eyes forward and maximum attack.”

Russell maintained his record of never being outqualified by a team mate at Williams – a run of 40 races – with Nicholas Latifi ending up a disappointing 18th.


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