Russell: Spanish GP the best Williams has ever felt in race-trim

George Russell says his Williams Formula 1 car felt better in the Spanish Grand Prix than any other race since he joined the team in 2019, despite only finishing 14th.

Russell: Spanish GP the best Williams has ever felt in race-trim

After pitting early on during the safety car period caused by Yuki Tsunoda's stranded AlphaTauri, Russell tagged on to the back of Alpine's Fernando Alonso and was in solid contention for a top ten finish throughout.

In the end, the team's push to get through the race with just a single stop did not quite work out, as the tyres went off and Russell fell down the order.

However, the Briton backed the team's strategy gamble and was encouraged by how the car felt after the team's struggles to emulate its qualifying form in races.

"I'm really pleased that we rolled the dice and we found ourselves in that position," said Russell.

"I think in those fine margins, who knows what would have happened had I cleared him [Alonso], but all in all I think we did a really good job.

"The car felt today the best it has ever felt in a race, and probably the best I can remember. That is what makes it so joyous to drive compared to normal, most of which I put down to a calm day. We know the beast we have."

This year's Williams is widely known to have a peaky aero characteristic, which means it produces overall good downforce but can suffer when operating in windy conditions.

George Russell, Williams, with engineers on the grid

George Russell, Williams, with engineers on the grid

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Russell suspects that the calmer weather in Barcelona on Sunday played a part in helping to deliver strong race pace.

"It was just a car on a consistent day," he said.

"The wind was less than 10km/h and there were minimal gusts, which made the car consistent to drive. And when it is consistent as a driver, you can drive around it.

"I think that is something Nicholas [Latifi, team-mate] and I have really struggled with, especially in Portimao [where] that was really exposed.

"It was incredibly inconsistent and, as a driver, you lose all the confidence. Then it has a negative effect on the tyres and you just get this downward spiral.

"Whereas days like today, where the car is nice and consistent as a driver, you can really push it to its limit and manage the car and its tyres as you wish and really optimise everything.

"Don't get me wrong, I'm sure a lot of people felt their car was a lot better. But we take a bigger jump when these conditions are favourable."

shares
comments
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle
Previous article

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Next article

Hamilton learned more about Verstappen in Spanish GP than "all the other races"

Hamilton learned more about Verstappen in Spanish GP than "all the other races"
Load comments
Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems Plus

Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway. But instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Plus

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Plus

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Plus

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021 Plus

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as STUART CODLING finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton Plus

The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls a remarkable champion

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Plus

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Autosport heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022