Russell's F1 Styrian GP qualifying performance "vindication" for Williams

Claire Williams says George Russell's performance in qualifying for the Styrian Grand Prix represented "vindication" and showed the Williams Formula 1 team has made progress after two "very painful" seasons

Russell's F1 Styrian GP qualifying performance "vindication" for Williams

Russell qualified 12th in the wet session at the Red Bull Ring, and moved up a further place after Ferrari's Charles Leclerc was penalised.

His race was compromised by an early trip across a gravel trap, and in an event of low attrition he had to settle for 16th, a place ahead of rookie team-mate Nicholas Latifi.

At the previous weekend's Austrian GP Russell outpaced both Alfa Romeo drivers in a dry qualifying session, only to retire with an engine failure in the race when he had a shot at making the points.

Despite the results not living up to expectations, Williams insists that the first two races demonstrated that the Grove outfit has taken a step.

"George's qualifying was a real shot in the arm for everybody at Williams, just to see how well the team is working," she said.

"The operations trackside have done pretty well, very few mistakes have been made, and that's an impressive achievement considering that nobody's been trackside for many months.

"Two years, I suppose in real terms, isn't a whole lot of time.

"But in F1, it's a hugely long time. And when we've got 22 races that we're going to and you end up dropping out of Q1 and never scoring points, it's been a really painful two years.

"The last time we were in Q2 was Brazil 2018. So [qualifying] feels like vindication for us.

"We told everybody, we promised that we were working in the background doing everything we needed to to turn this team around. And I think clearly we've had a lot of support.

"We've also had some doubters, and I hope that what we've done is demonstrate that we deliver on our promises and we will continue to work hard. We know we still got a lot of work to do.

"But it does feel good that we are putting in the performance, to show that we're moving our car and our team back up to where we want to see it.

"And even just the work that's been going on behind the scenes between these two Austrian races has been really quite impressive.

"And we've managed to resolve a lot of the issues that we found in Austria one, that now are on the car and bringing more performance."

Regarding the ongoing quest for points, she added: "I think let's just take each race as it comes, and I know they're coming.

"I know those points are on their way to us, and it will be an incredibly happy day when they arrive."

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