George Russell does not believe the Sprint Qualifying Race format that is set to make its debut in the British Grand Prix will suit the Williams Racing team, with the Briton believing it will see them drop back rather than make progress.
The race weekend at Silverstone will see a change to the usual programme, with one practice session on Friday morning leading up to the usual three-stage Qualifying session later that day. Another practice session will take place on Saturday morning before a half-hour sprint race on Saturday afternoon, which will determine the grid for Sunday’s full-distance Grand Prix.
Russell has been a standout performer in Qualifying sessions this year, with the Briton having made it into Q2 in every round to date. Last time out for the Austrian Grand Prix, he went one stage further for the first time as a Williams driver and made it into Q3.
But races have been more of a struggle for both him and his team, and he believes the new format will not be that beneficial to a team still seeking their first top ten finish since the 2019 German Grand Prix.
“Silverstone’s going to be an even bigger crowd [than Austria] and I’m sure they’re going to be buzzing for it – probably after England have won the Euros as well, so they’re going to be happy about that,” Russell is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com.
“Obviously, there’s the sprint qualifying as well. I’m not too sure that will play into our favour, because obviously we’re normally a bit better on the quali performance than we are in the race.
“But we’ve got to give it a chance and maybe it goes the other way. It’s new for everybody, and that also gives an opportunity.”