Dave Robson says there were mixed emotions about Qualifying for the Styrian Grand Prix, with George Russell missing out on a first Q3 appearance for Williams Racing by just 0.008 seconds.
Russell qualified eleventh, with Lance Stroll of Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team just pipping him with a time eight-thousandths of a second.
It was almost a similar story for Nicholas Latifi in Q1, with the Canadian missing out on a Q2 appearance by just 0.033 seconds, this time McLaren F1 Team’s Daniel Ricciardo was the one just ahead.
Robson, the Head of Vehicle Performance at Williams, says Russell is in a good starting position for Sunday’s race – he moves up to tenth thanks to a penalty for Yuki Tsunoda – with Williams eyeing their first points finish since the German Grand Prix in 2019.
“Following the heavy overnight rain, we were concerned that the track might be in poor condition this morning, but the tyres were working well, and we were pleased with our opening runs,” said Robson.
“Some traffic issues on the final runs meant that we looked slower than we thought we really were, but this offered some useful learning ahead of qualifying.
“The short lap here makes traffic difficult and of course means that the field lap times are heavily compressed. In Q1 Nicholas started very strongly and used his three-run strategy very well. Some traffic on his final effort cost him the crucial time required to qualify for Q2.
“In contrast, George had a tougher first run as he aimed for multiple laps. However, he held his nerve expertly and delivered an excellent final effort in Q1. Having qualified for Q2, he had two new Soft tyres to use and this enabled him to make more progress with each run.
“For the final run he had a good track position, which he used very well and finished just short of Q3. However, claiming eleventh place on the grid, and with a free choice of start tyre, he is in a strong position for tomorrow.”