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
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Portuguese GP
Drivers George Russell
Teams Williams
Author Alex Kalinauckas
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Plus

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

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button

How Red Bull’s deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Plus

How Red Bull’s deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

The toe-in-water origins of Lotus’s groundbreaking F1 journey Plus

The toe-in-water origins of Lotus’s groundbreaking F1 journey

In the first part of our history of Lotus, DAMIEN SMITH recalls how Formula 1 wasn’t an immediate priority for team founder Colin Chapman – but once he got a taste for it he just couldn’t stop…

Formula 1
May 9, 2021
How Hamilton’s qualifying record compares to Senna and Schumacher Plus

How Hamilton’s qualifying record compares to Senna and Schumacher

Lewis Hamilton has just become the first driver to record 100 world championship Formula 1 pole positions. Time to revisit a debate we discussed when he reached 150 front row starts in 2020.

Formula 1
May 8, 2021
Why sustainability is being mandated by F1 Plus

Why sustainability is being mandated by F1

Continuing to be socially acceptable as public views shift globally is vitally important to the future of motor racing, says PAT SYMONDS - especially in Formula 1, the championship that represents the technological peak

Formula 1
May 8, 2021
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull's title credentials, and heap pressure on Verstappen Plus

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull's title credentials, and heap pressure on Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one big encouraging sign for Red Bull. The trouble is, it looks like making good on that gain will require its superstar driver to avoid repeating a mistake made today that left him well down the FP2 order

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Plus

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his team-mate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon

Formula 1
May 6, 2021