ROKit Williams Racing‘s George Russell has stated that he hopes that the Grove-outfit can carry over their performance gains from the Singapore Grand Prix as Formula 1 heads to the Sochi Olympic park for the Russian Grand Prix.
While the British squad failed to reach the points at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, the team was still buoyed by pace that saw Russell fight the Haas F1 car of Romain Grosjean, as well as team-mate Robert Kubica battling in the pack for periods of the race.
With this solace in mind from an otherwise dissatisfying weekend for the Williams team, Russell has suggested that he aims to repeat his heroics, as Williams’ FW42 package continues to increase its relative performance.
“It is a unique circuit, and off the back of what was a relatively promising weekend in Singapore, I am looking forward to seeing if we can bring a similar amount of performance in Russia,” said Russell.
The British Rookie also reflected upon his own prized Sochi memories, as twelve months ago he found out he would make his Formula 1 debut in 2019.
Russell stated, ” I have good memories from Russia because that was when I found out I would be driving for Williams last year, and so I will always remember that.”
For team-mate Kubica, the now annual trip to Sochi represents a new challenge as the Pole makes his bow at the circuit, following his announcement that he will leave the Williams team at the end of the season.
Kubica therefore, aims to enjoy the experience of mastering the circuit in what could likely be his one and only visit there as an F1 driver.
“I have been to Russia as a Reserve Driver, so I know how it looks but I have never driven there. It is always a good experience to discover a new track, so hopefully it will be enjoyable and nice to drive,” said Kubica.
Senior Race Engineer for Williams, Dave Robson also reflected on the contrasting nature that the Sochi circuit holds with high-speed straights juxtaposed by the slow-speed final sector.
Robson stated, “The Sochi track winds its way around the Olympic Park and starts with an interesting mix of straights and medium speed corners, before reaching Sector 3 where a series of low speed turns test the cars’ handling and braking before returning the drivers to the long main straight.
Overtaking on the straight requires cars to follow closely throughout Sector 3 and then to have good traction exiting the last corner. As a result, overtaking is not as easy as it might first appear.”
He also referred to Sochi’s notorious lack of tyre-management due to the smooth track surface, stressing that the behaviour of the Pirelli rubber could be critical to a strong weekend.
“Tyre compounds are from the middle of the Pirelli range and are the same as those used in Monza. How they will behave will depend on the track temperature on the day but generally, once up to temperature, they should be reasonably robust and may not require much management,” said Robson.