George Russell was left frustrated after being eliminated from the Eifel Grand Prix following contact with Kimi Räikkönen, with the Briton feeling there was possibilities to do well at the Nürburgring.
The Williams Racing driver had been involved in a battle with Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN’s Räikkönen, only for the latter to bounce into the side of Russell’s car and pitching him into the air and into a spin.
Russell attempted to recover to the pits, but it was soon clear that the damage was terminal, and he stopped the car at the side of the car to retire for the third time in 2020.
“It was a very frustrating way to finish the Eifel Grand Prix,” said Russell. “I was racing with Sebastian (Vettel), and Kimi (Raikkonen) was close behind. I overtook Sebastian in the corner before, but he got the DRS to re-pass me.
“Kimi was close behind fighting with us, he made the mistake, lost the car and crashed into me which damaged the car and gave us a puncture. There was too much damage to bring it home and we had to retire the car, but that’s just racing sometimes.
“Up until then, the car was feeling was good and we were on pace with the guys around us. We were on a slightly different strategy to those we were racing, so there were opportunities there. It is a shame because the way that this race has panned out there was definitely an opportunity there.”
“I was pushing as hard as I could” – Nicholas Latifi
Team-mate Nicholas Latifi ended the race outside the points in fourteenth, but the Canadian felt he did everything he could throughout the race at the Nürburgring.
Latifi enjoyed a late race battle with Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda’s Daniil Kvyat and finished ahead of the Russian, but he admits the pace was not there for him to finish higher up the order than he did.
“It was a challenging race today and I was pushing as hard as I could,” said Latifi. “I can’t pinpoint why exactly, we were just lacking overall pace, especially compared to the Haas and the Alfa.
“We were put in a good position after the safety car, but we had faster cars on new qualifying tyres behind us. I had some fun battles with Daniil (Kyvat), I think for the last five or six laps I was defending into turn one, battling through one, two and three, so it was fun to have that fight.
“We will have to go away and analyse to see why we were lacking pace this weekend.”
“We didn’t have the pace to achieve a better finish” – Dave Robson
Dave Robson, the Head of Vehicle Performance at Williams, felt Russell was making good progress up the field when he was knocked out by Räikkönen, and he could have been a contender for his first points of the season but for the incident.
On the other side of the garage, Robson felt Latifi was caught out by the timing of the safety car, but ultimately the pace was not there to be a genuine points contender at the Nürburgring.
“It is a shame that George’s race ended as soon as it did as he was making decent progress and was in a good race with the cars that eventually finished in the points,” said Robson. “Nicholas was unfortunate with the timing of the safety car, which helped our rivals more than us.
“However, overall, we didn’t have the pace to achieve a better finish today, but we have enjoyed our return to the Nürburgring and the shortened race weekend, which made yesterday quite difficult but has served as useful preparation for the upcoming race at Imola.”