Wolff wouldn’t be surprised to see Russell lead opening lap in Sochi

Toto Wolff would not be surprised to see Mercedes Formula 1 protege George Russell lead on the opening lap of the Russian Grand Prix after starting third on the grid.

Wolff wouldn’t be surprised to see Russell lead opening lap in Sochi

After qualifying second at Spa last month, Williams driver Russell put in another impressive display in damp conditions to secure P3 in qualifying at the Sochi Autodrom on Saturday.

The performance only added to the buzz around Russell ahead of his move to Mercedes for 2022, when he will partner seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Russell and Hamilton will start side-by-side on the grid today after Hamilton slipped to fourth place in the closing stages of qualifying.

But Mercedes F1 boss Wolff felt that P4 was “maybe not the worst of starting positions for Lewis” thanks to the long run down to Turn 2 on the opening lap and the pace of his car in a straight line.

“Probably the best position to start from is P3,” Wolff said.

“We’ve seen that last year and the years before, so P4 is not a catastrophe. On the contrary, it may even give opportunities.”

George Russell, Williams in the Press Conference

George Russell, Williams in the Press Conference

Photo by: FIA Pool

Asked by Autosport about Russell’s display and chances given he will start P3, Wolff tipped the Williams driver to potentially be leading early in Sochi.

"I would not be surprised if George is leading the race after Turn 2,” Wolff said.

“And that will be good fun to watch. As long as Lewis can make up positions, we would have the present and the future running in P1 and P2.

“But joking aside, [Russell] has shown strong performance today. He has been taking massive risks by being the first one to pit for softs, but equally where he was, probably qualifying eighth or ninth, that was the right thing to do from Williams' side and George's side.

“But you still need to bring it home and that's what he did.”

Read Also:

Wolff also made note of Hamilton’s current team-mate, Valtteri Bottas, for his pace through practice on Friday ahead of an anticipated charge up the order in the race.

“With Valtteri, his pace was tremendous yesterday, the quickest long run pace on the hards that was there,” Wolff said.

“I expect a good result for him."

shares
comments

Related video

Bottas hit with Russian GP grid penalty after F1 engine change
Previous article

Bottas hit with Russian GP grid penalty after F1 engine change

Next article

Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces

Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces
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