George Russell Fires Williams Into Q3 In Austria

2021 Austrian Grand Prix, Saturday - George Russell (image courtesy Williams F1 Team)

A stunning drive from George Russell has fired his Williams into Q3, and a P9 start for Sunday’s race. In one of the Brits best-ever qualifying results, Russell made it into Q3 on the harder compound Medium tyre, giving him a huge advantage as he looks to make up positions and secure his first-ever points finish for Williams.

Special Session For Mr Saturday

George Russell has earned the nickname ‘Mr Saturday’ for some incredible single-lap performances, but his lap in Austria was his best of the best in 2021.

‘Qualifying was pretty special; we usually do well on Saturdays but that was on another level. I had a lot of confidence in the car, which really helped when it came to nailing my Q3 lap with only one shot. P9 in any circumstances is a great place to be, but starting on the mediums with a few cars ahead on the soft tyres puts us in a strong position for the race and hopefully gives us a real advantage when it comes to making strategy decisions. I’m really pleased for the whole team; we’ve managed to keep the momentum going and this is thoroughly deserved after the struggles of last Sunday. I’m very excited for tomorrow,’ said Russell.

2021 Austrian Grand Prix, Saturday - George Russell (image courtesy Williams F1 Team)
2021 Austrian Grand Prix, Saturday – George Russell (image courtesy Williams F1 Team)

Nicholas Latifi Struggles For Balance

While his teammate was firing on all cylinders, Nicholas Latifi struggled for balance, and tumbled out of qualifying in Q1. He will start from P18 tomorrow.

‘It was a different challenge this weekend for everybody with softer tyres, but I am struggling to get the balance right this weekend and the car dialled in. The first run wasn’t so bad, but the second run I made a mistake in the hairpin of turn three and missed the corner. Our car has some glaringly big weaknesses and it is a flip of the coin in qualifying of whether you get the corner right or wrong, which as a driver is not how you want to approach certain corners. I got it wrong this time and lost so much time as a result, so obviously very frustrated,’ added Latifi.

Hard Work Paying Off For Williams

Williams Racing Head of Vehicle Performance, Dave Robson, was pleased to see the teams hard work starting to bare fruit, but knows they need to keep their head down if they want to turn that into points on Sunday.

‘We thought that bettering our qualifying result of last week might be difficult, especially given how tricky it can be on this short track. However, George – aided by the entire team – produced an excellent performance to not only make it to Q3, but to do so on the Medium tyre. There is still a long way to go this weekend, but we can afford a moment of contentment before we move on to the serious business of the race tomorrow.

‘Having looked at some different set-up directions yesterday, Nicholas settled on a good compromise for today and, but for some traffic, was looking strong in FP3. He completed an aggressive strategy in Q1, and his first run was strong. Unfortunately, he couldn’t quite track the pace progression that George found and when the gaps are so small, those fine margins are crucial. He starts the race from 18th place but is in a good position to attack the cars ahead,’ concluded Robson.

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