Russell felt ‘nothing to lose’ in Belgian GP qualifying ahead of shock P2

George Russell was left “buzzing” after a shock charge to second on the grid in Formula 1 qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix, narrowly missing out on pole for Williams.

Russell felt ‘nothing to lose’ in Belgian GP qualifying ahead of shock P2

Russell made it through to Q3 for the third time in four races in the wet conditions, and was forced to pit to switch to intermediates early in the final session after starting on wets.

But Russell opted to save up his engine power and modes for his final lap in Q3, and lit up the timesheets to take provisional pole by 0.013 seconds from Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.

A fairytale pole was snatched away by Max Verstappen, who finished three-tenths of a second clear for Red Bull, sparking wild celebrations from his army of fans in the Spa grandstands.

Russell’s lap was nevertheless good enough for second place on the grid, marking Williams’ first front row start since Italy 2017, and matching his best F1 qualifying from his one-off appearance for Mercedes in Sakhir last year.

“I don't know what to say to be honest,” Russell said in parc ferme after qualifying.

“I thought we had done a good job to get out of Q1 [after] how we got on yesterday and now we're standing here on the front row.

“I think the guys did an amazing job today. We were on the track always at the right time. The car was feeling great, I had so much confidence so onto tomorrow now.”

George Russell, Williams FW43B

George Russell, Williams FW43B

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Russell felt he had “nothing to lose” heading into his final lap of the session after already reaching Q3, with Lando Norris’s crash before the red flag meaning he was guaranteed at least ninth.

“I was in a fortunate position of there's nothing to lose,” Russell said.

“We were in Q3 which is not the norm for us, and we just had to go for it. We saved the full maximum engine mode for the last lap, and we just thought, you know what, let's go for it and I'm buzzing, absolutely buzzing.

“But obviously tomorrow is the important one and I've got to go out there and score some more points.”

Russell scored his first points for Williams at the last race in Hungary, finishing eighth, and will look to build on the result from the front row tomorrow.

Asked if he could “have a nibble” at Verstappen and try to take the lead on the run to Les Combes on the opening lap, Russell replied: "That is the plan, if it is there for the taking, we will go for it. So yeah, mega."

shares
comments

Related video

F1 Belgian Grand Prix qualifying results: Verstappen takes pole at Spa, Russell stars
Previous article

F1 Belgian Grand Prix qualifying results: Verstappen takes pole at Spa, Russell stars

Next article

Norris taken to hospital for checks after Belgian GP qualifying crash

Norris taken to hospital for checks after Belgian GP qualifying crash
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Plus

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star Plus

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s team-mate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy Plus

How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Plus

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Plus

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Plus

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats Plus

How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats

The 2022 Formula 1 season will be remembered as a record book rewriting Max Verstappen masterclass, a completely different challenge to his maiden world championship last year, and a clear sign he is still raising his own level. But where does it stack up against the all-time great F1 campaigns?

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2022 Formula 1 season came to a close at the Yas Marina Circuit, where the battle for second in the standings was decided, the wins in a season record extended and a retiring four-time world champion bowed out on a high. Here's how we rated the drivers

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022