Russell won't be "doing anything stupid" fighting faster cars in Belgian GP

Williams’ George Russell says he will not try “anything stupid” to hold onto a high position during the 2021 Spa race after stunning several faster Formula 1 cars in qualifying.

Russell won't be "doing anything stupid" fighting faster cars in Belgian GP

Russell nearly claimed a shock pole for Williams after rising to provisionally top Q3 in the final moments of the wet Belgian Grand Prix qualifying on Saturday – with rivals including Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton unable to better his time, and only Red Bull’s Max Verstappen finally able to get ahead of claim pole for Sunday’s race.

Russell’s result equalled his best F1 career grid slot, but it was his best result for Williams after his first front row start came when his stood in for Hamilton at the 2020 Sakhir GP when the world champion contracted COVID-19.

The Briton said his Williams machine – on average the eighth fastest car across all the events completed so far in the 2021 season – “was really on it in these wet conditions” but said he and his squad have “obviously got to be realistic” about what it can achieve in Sunday’s race, even if the Spa track is wet again, going up against rivals with faster packages overall.

“We’ve got incredibly fast cars behind us but if the conditions stay the same, we’ve got a car that’s probably quick enough on merit in the top 10,” Russell said after qualifying.

“But if we’re starting from the front row, there’s no reason why we can’t try to hold that position for the majority of the race.

“But, you know, I don’t think I’m going to do anything stupid with the cars around me that are clearly going to be faster than us.

“[However,] there’s no reason why we can’t finish, if conditions are like this, top five, and just maximise it. Points is an absolute minimum.”

George Russell, Williams FW43B

George Russell, Williams FW43B

Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

Russell was speaking in the post qualifying press conference where he also explained how he had worked to best deploy the electric energy of his customer Mercedes power unit on his final Q3, after initially posting a ‘banker’ preparation lap to bring his intermediate tyres into their optimum operating temperature range.

“It’s really difficult on this long circuit because we’ve obviously got the same engine mode but the battery deployment is quite different,” said Russell.

Read Also:

“And you want to give it everything you’ve got on that one lap, so I knew the lap would be on the last lap.

“I basically pushed [on the prep lap] but I didn’t deploy my battery, and just saved it all for the last lap, because it’s quite potent around here.”

shares
comments

Related video

Mercedes holds out hope Belgian GP set-up choice will still pay off
Previous article

Mercedes holds out hope Belgian GP set-up choice will still pay off

Next article

Williams explains "risky but clever" Spa qualifying strategy

Williams explains "risky but clever" Spa qualifying strategy
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Plus

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

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.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
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