George Russell secured his third consecutive pole position at Silverstone, and the British racer admitted it was a great feeling to add a home pole to the ones he earned in France and Austria.
The ART Grand Prix driver has been in sublime form in recent weeks and took over the lead of the FIA Formula 2 championship standings following a pair of strong results last weekend at the Red Bull Ring, with the British driver extending that advantage to fourteen points over compatriot Lando Norris thanks to the pole.
Russell had earlier dominated the one and only free practice session by more than seven-tenths of a second but found the opposition much closer in the Qualifying session, ending just 0.076 seconds clear of Alexander Albon.
“It feels great!” said Russell during the post-Qualifying Press Conference. “The car was a bit tricky at the start of this season in the qualifying sessions, we worked hard to understand our issues and made changes from Paul Ricard onwards – and it’s really paid dividends, we’re looking very strong at the moment.
“After practice I had huge confidence, we went out and were ahead of everyone by seven tenths, which is a huge margin. It was a tricky session, even though it may have looked easy – going from hard compound to the softs, it just has different characteristics, but nevertheless we came home with pole position.”
With even hotter temperatures expected on Saturday, Russell admits tyre degradation could play a big part in proceedings, and it is likely to be the case that he will have to be patient and conserve them until the end to get the result he desires.
“I think not getting carried away at the start of the race, because it’s certainly a long race,” said the Mercedes-Benz protégé. “Tyre degradation’s going to be high and we’ll see big drop-offs in the closing stages – so we’ve got to sit back, be patient and nurse them until the end.
“I think it’s going to be tricky for the drivers to anticipate what will happen because in the past three years, we’ve seen a track temperature around the 20-30 degree mark. This year, it’s going to be anywhere between 45-50 degrees, and the new track surface is visibly blacker compared to previous years – so it keeps the heat more than it did last year.
“I think the deg [degradation] was always bad, but it’s going to be extremely bad this year.”