Williams rues lack of Norris tow in Russell's F1 Portuguese GP Q3 bid

The Williams Formula 1 team believes George Russell could have reached Portimao Q3 had he benefitted from a Lando Norris tow, but the McLaren pitted ahead of Q2’s closing laps.

Williams rues lack of Norris tow in Russell's F1 Portuguese GP Q3 bid

Russell qualified 11th for the Portuguese Grand Prix – his best qualifying result for the Williams squad – and ended up just 0.057 seconds adrift of reaching Q3 for the first time with the team.

Williams’ head of vehicle performance, Dave Robson, revealed after qualifying that the team was hoping Russell would benefit from Norris continuing on for one final run down the pitstraight at the end of Q2, after the McLaren had carved ahead of several cars preparing to start their final flying laps in that segment.

Had Russell been able to follow Norris further down the straight, he might have gained enough time in the tow to demote Pierre Gasly out of Q3, but Norris instead pulled into the pits shortly after passing the Williams.

“It would have been a great lift for everybody if we had made it [into Q3],” said Robson. “And we were obviously very close.

“It was a bit disappointing Lando decided to pit, as we thought we were going to get a useful tow off him at the start of George’s timed lap, which might have made the difference.

“But, if we’re being really honest and pragmatic about it with the view for tomorrow, I think P11 is a pretty good starting place with a free choice of tyre and a brand new one to start the race with.

“It’s difficult to know what will have happened in Q3 because a few cars didn’t find time, but I’d imagine that’s conditions and the wind.

“So, it’s hard to imagine we’d have been much further up than P10.

“It would have been great to have got in there, but actually P11 is pretty good and, if we’re there on merit, then we’ve got a good chance [in the race] I think.”

Russell told TV crews after qualifying that he had “the quickest car in a straight line, which will help us to defend or attack”, as he eyes a chance of taking a first points finish with Williams, after he came ninth on his one-off appearance for Mercedes in Bahrain last year.

George Russell, Williams

George Russell, Williams

Photo by: FIA Pool

When asked by Autosport if Williams believes he does have a real chance of exploiting a straightline speed advantage in Sunday’s race, Robson said: “Yeah, I think so.

“Certainly yesterday it was quick in a straight line, and I think typically it was both in Bahrain and in Imola, so that’s quite a good feature of this car.

“[In qualifying] obviously using DRS it was still pretty quick, so hopefully what we saw on Friday will carry over and people haven’t taken a load of drag off their car since, so I think that is true hopefully.

“It will help in that the circuit, because that last corner is flat, so effectively the drag starts kicking in at the exit of Turn 14.

“I think it will be an advantage to both defending and hopefully useful for attacking as well.

“He’s got a big chance. I think yesterday the Aston Martins were quite slow on the straights, so with [Sebastian] Vettel just ahead of us, there’s definitely some opportunity.

“Anything he can get at the start, hopefully he can hang onto on the straights.”

shares
comments

Related video

How F1 tyre strategy differences could decide the Portuguese GP
Previous article

How F1 tyre strategy differences could decide the Portuguese GP

Next article

How Sainz beat F1's new driver curse

How Sainz beat F1's new driver curse
The “solemn promise” that cost quiet hero Brooks an F1 title Plus

The “solemn promise” that cost quiet hero Brooks an F1 title

After two terrifying crashes, one of the best British racers of the 1950s retired before his career peaked. But that’s why GP Racing’s MAURICE HAMILTON was able to speak to Tony Brooks in 2014. Like his friend Stirling Moss, Brooks was regarded as one of the best drivers never to have won the world championship. Here, as our tribute to Brooks who died last month, is that interview in full

Formula 1
Jun 27, 2022
Inside the Faenza facility where AlphaTauri’s F1 pragmatic vision is realised Plus

Inside the Faenza facility where AlphaTauri’s F1 pragmatic vision is realised

AlphaTauri’s mission in F1 is to sell clothes and train young drivers rather than win the championship – but you still need a cutting-edge factory to do that. Team boss Franz Tost takes GP Racing’s OLEG KARPOV on a guided tour of a facility that’s continuing to grow

Formula 1
Jun 26, 2022
Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons Plus

Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons

Gilles Villeneuve's exploits behind the wheel of a Ferrari made him a legend to the tifosi, even 40 years after his death. The team's current Formula 1 star Charles Leclerc enjoys a similar status, and recently got behind the wheel of a very special car from the French-Canadian’s career

Formula 1
Jun 24, 2022
How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock Plus

How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock

Porpoising has become the key talking point during the 2022 Formula 1 season, as teams battle to come to terms with it. An FIA technical directive ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix and a second stay appearing on the Mercedes cars only served to create a bigger debate and raise tensions further

Formula 1
Jun 23, 2022
Does Verstappen have any weaknesses left? Plus

Does Verstappen have any weaknesses left?

Having extended his Formula 1 points lead with victory in Canada, Max Verstappen has raised his game further following his 2021 title triumph. Even on the days where Red Bull appears to be second best to Ferrari, Verstappen is getting the most out of the car in each race. So, does he have any weaknesses that his title rivals can exploit?

Formula 1
Jun 22, 2022
How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector Plus

How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector

In 2026, Formula 1 plans to make the switch to a fully sustainable fuel, as the greater automotive world considers its own alternative propulsion methods. Biogasoline and e-fuels both have merit as 'drop-in' fuels but, equally, both have their shortcomings...

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022
The breakthrough behind Sainz’s best weekend of F1 2022 so far Plus

The breakthrough behind Sainz’s best weekend of F1 2022 so far

OPINION: Carlos Sainz came close to winning in Monaco but needed that race’s specific circumstances for his shot at a maiden Formula 1 victory to appear. Last weekend in Canada, he led the line for Ferrari in Charles Leclerc’s absence from the front. And there’s a key reason why Sainz has turned his 2022 form around

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022
Canadian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Plus

Canadian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

Plenty of high scores but just a single perfect 10 from the first Montreal race in three years, as Max Verstappen fended off late pressure from Carlos Sainz. Here’s Autosport’s assessment on the Formula 1 drivers from the Canadian Grand Prix

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2022