Williams: F1 driver Russell could "just" have made Austrian GP Q2

Williams says it was more competitive than it expected to be in Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix qualifying, and feels George Russell could have made Q2 with a "perfect situation"

Williams: F1 driver Russell could "just" have made Austrian GP Q2

The team's head of vehicle performance, Dave Robson, explained that Russell, who qualified 17th but had been in position to make it through to the second segment of qualifying before the final flying runs, had proved the FW43 "just" had the pace to escape Q1 - something Williams did not do once in 2019.

In the end, Russell did not improve his best Q1 time and was shuffled back by the two Haas drivers Romain Grosjean, who went into Q2, and Kevin Magnussen.

"I think in the absolute perfect case he probably did just have the pace to get through," said Robson.

"I suspect there are quite a few drivers who would say the same but yeah, I think we were right on the cusp.

"And to be honest, we were probably a bit more competitive this afternoon than we were expecting.

"And yes, if it been almost perfect, and possibly even that lap that perhaps [Lance] Stroll was a little bit in the way right at the end, that might even have been good enough to get him through.

"So you yeah, I think in the perfect situation, we probably did just had the pace to get in."

Despite just missing out on a Q2 slot for the first time in his F1 career, Russell nevertheless outqualified both Alfa Romeo cars and was just 0.003s slower than Magnussen.

When asked if he expected Williams to be able to fight Alfa and Haas in today's race at the Red Bull Ring, Robson said: "I hope so.

"I think there's no doubt that our car is quite a lot better than the car we took to Abu Dhabi last year.

"I guess on the basis of one qualifying session, we'll have to see exactly what the cause of that relative pace was and is it something that doesn't suit the circuit for the Alfa Romeos that won't continue going forwards.

"I'm not sure yet. But I think undoubtedly [we can] say that our car is better.

"And hopefully we can be in a position to push for Q2 [on a regular basis]. We'll find out some more [in the race today].

"We'll see how the car responds to the warmer conditions and looks after the tyres.

"Hopefully, yeah, we can race the Alfas behind us, the Haas's just ahead.

"We'll see. Overall though it's probably a little bit early to say, but I think it's a promising start."

shares
comments
How F1's new podium procedure will work in Austria
Previous article

How F1's new podium procedure will work in Austria

Next article

Wolff calls Hamilton F1 salary speculation "total nonsense"

Wolff calls Hamilton F1 salary speculation "total nonsense"
Load comments
The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race Plus

The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race

OPINION: Max Verstappen has made the 2021 Formula 1 championship. He’s taken the fight to the all-conquering Mercedes squad and its dominant champion, produced driving displays few can match. But he’s been on a controversial course too, and finally crossed a particular line in Jeddah

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An ill-tempered Saudi Grand Prix made Formula 1 more soap opera than sporting spectacle at times, but there were some strong performances up and down the field on the world championship's first visit to Jeddah

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series Plus

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series

The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a race packed full of incident as Formula 1 2021's title contenders repeatedly clashed on track. Lewis Hamilton won out over Max Verstappen to level the scores heading into next weekend's Abu Dhabi finale, as Jeddah turned F1 into a drama series

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance Plus

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2021
How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes Plus

How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Dec 3, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Plus

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Plus

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Plus

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Autosport's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer explains

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021