George Russell, dubbed ‘Mr Saturday’ in 2020 for his efforts to get the underperforming Williams Racing FW43 in Q2, acknowledged Qualifying for Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix was not that important as he knew he would be starting at the back of the grid regardless of where he qualified.
Russell came into the weekend knowing he would be taking a plethora of grid penalties for engine component changes, although he did attempt to advance into Q2 but to no avail.
The Briton is hoping to make a good start on Sunday and stay out of trouble, particularly if the conditions are as tricky as they were on Saturday as opportunities for points may present themselves.
“Today, qualifying wasn’t as important for us as we already knew that we will be starting at the back of the grid due to the penalty,” said Russell, who was also handed a subsequent five-place grid penalty for yellow flag offences.
“I was very keen to try and set some laps to see how the car was feeling though but unfortunately that was the limit today. I had very little grip as it was incredibly difficult getting the tyres working.
“Hopefully it will be an interesting race. We know that a lot can be gained on the opening laps so we will be trying to make a good start.”
“It was tricky for everybody to keep it on the track” – Nicholas Latifi
Team-mate Nicholas Latifi was slowest of all after spinning off in the incredibly tricky conditions towards the end of Q1. The Canadian was more than eleven seconds off Russell’s best time but will start ahead of the Briton on Sunday.
Latifi’s only registered flying lap came prior to the two red flag periods at Istanbul Park, with the twenty-five-year-old struggling to keep the car on the road in the ultra-low-grip conditions.
“It was probably the lowest grip conditions that you will ever get to drive in Formula 1,” said Latifi. “It was tricky for everybody to keep it on the track; I literally couldn’t do a lap and the only lap that I did was before the first red flag as there was too much water on the track.
“It is what is, anything can happen in the race tomorrow as the conditions are going to be quite unknown. I think it will be a bit of a mess and hopefully we can take advantage of that.”