How strategy confidence helped Russell shock at Spa

Williams team principal Jost Capito says that the Grove-based Formula 1 outfit’s improved strategy management boosted George Russell to second on the grid at Spa.

How strategy confidence helped Russell shock at Spa

After Russell reached Q3 the team decided to focus its efforts on one quick lap right at the end of the session, rather than setting a banker time and then chipping away at it in the rapidly changing conditions.

Capito says that making the top 10 was already a good result and that the team then had nothing to lose by holding out until the end of the session – while knowing that Russell was capable of getting the job done when the pressure was on.

Russell briefly held pole position with his final lap, before being pipped by Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

“I think we planned it very well,” Capito told Autosport. “We had enough time to plan what we were doing and how are we doing it and, and basically, we didn't have anything to lose.

“When we make it in Q3 this is the biggest success we can have. So then being 10th finally is fine, isn't it? So we didn't have anything to lose. So we then said we put everything in one lap. And we know that George can do it.

“And not every driver can do it under these conditions, put everything in one lap. And you know, we gave him first lap in the on the wet that he could check the conditions on a safe way. Then he had two laps on the intermediate where he could get everything right.

“He was then in sync with all the others, and could give it in one lap with the whole confidence he could get in the first three laps. He is fantastic.

“I think it was special in every way. It also was not a straightforward qualifying as well. But I think that are the conditions when you can make the difference."

Capito says that this season the team has made big steps on calling the right strategies in both qualifying and races, having improved its internal communications.

“I've seen in Budapest already that the team improves a lot on strategy on decision making,” he explained. “And I think we got very good through the season in taking good decisions on the spot with the right communication, with the right level, with the right communication strategy, who talks to whom, who takes the decisions. I think that is what improved a lot.

“So we can be very quick in taking decisions and then everybody backing them up. I think that's a big improvement we have done.”

Capito has an open mind about what Russell might achieve in Sunday's race.

“We'll see what we can do,” he said. “The weather conditions will very much I think be similar to what they were today. And you have to take the right decisions, you have to be sure what the weather is, you need the good weather information, and then just go with it and see where it ends up. I think to plan a race with these conditions is impossible.

“There's everything from crashing in the first corner until the podium! Anything is possible. That's the great thing of racing, that it's not predictable. You have conditions like this here, I think that's what makes F1 and racing in general very, very special.”

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