George Russell believes Williams Racing have “really turned the page” on their 2019 season after qualifying a season’s best sixteenth for the 2019 Hungarian Grand Prix.
With a disrupted practice leading into the Hungarian weekend, Russell wasn’t truly able to show Williams’ turn around in pace until qualifying. As the Hungaroring’s track surface ‘rubbered in’ progressively throughout Q1 Russell launched up the time-sheets to ninth in the closing stages with a lap-time of 1:17.031.
He was ultimately shuffled back down to sixteenth, narrowly missing out on his first ever Q2 appearance by just 0.050-seconds. Nonetheless, the British rookie says Williams are “over the moon” with his result.
“I am ecstatic with qualifying,” said Russell. “We have really turned the page this weekend with our update and understanding the tyres.
“It was a shame to miss out on Q2 but considering everything, we are over the moon. I felt comfortable inside the car, probably the happiest that I have been all year.
“It was a joy to drive and I’m really pleased with the lap. Regardless of tomorrow, we will enter the summer break on a positive note, knowing that we achieved this result on merit.”
It was a vastly different mood on the other side of the Williams garage however, with Russell’s team-mate Robert Kubica not finding the same pace as his less experienced team-mate.
Kubica’s best lap, a 1:18.324, was almost 1.3-seconds slower than Russell and sees him line up in his seemingly customary twentieth and last place.
“We were lucky with the weather and support today, but unfortunately the pace is what it is,” said Kubica. “I felt happy with the car and with the balance, but in general I lacked grip.
“We were lacking half a second, we tried something desperate and as you can see it did not work.”
Williams’ senior race engineer Dave Robson says that the team “need to look at the reasons” for Kubica’s lack of pace compared to his team-mate.
“In qualifying we were able to
complete three runs with each driver and both made steady improvements as the
session progressed,” said
Robson. “A yellow flag hindered one
of George’s runs, requiring him to lift in the last corner. Otherwise, he was
very happy with his progression especially in the important Sector 2. Robert
struggled a little more this afternoon and we will need to look at the reasons
“Tomorrow looks to be a dry and warm day and as overtaking is difficult here, the race will be hard for anyone not starting right at the front. However, it is a long run to T1 and we will try to build on our qualifying position at the start of the race and then fight with the midfield.”