George Russell finished in the top ten of a Formula 1 race for the first time in a Williams Racing car, with a ninth-place finish during Saturday’s sprint race at the British Grand Prix.
Russell did well to keep Esteban Ocon at bay to secure ninth but has become victim to a three-place grid penalty for impeding Carlos Sainz Jr. on the opening lap, meaning he will start Sunday’s race in twelfth.
Russell said: “Overall, it was an interesting race, trickier than I anticipated out there keeping the tyres alive for 17 laps. It was very difficult keeping Esteban (Ocon) behind. The Alpine was very fast even on the soft tyre, but we finished ninth on track and my first time in the top-10 with Williams.
“However, it is very unfortunate to get a penalty and I feel that it was a harsh decision. We are still going to be starting in a great position to fight for points tomorrow. We had a really strong race today; it is going to be long race and tyre management will be key, which will be the overriding factor into the result. So, let’s wait and see!“
“There isn’t a lot of tyre management given the distance” – Nicholas Latifi
Nicholas Latifi gained one place during his quiet sprint race. The Canadian driver started in eighteenth but was able to climb to a starting position of seventeenth for Sunday’s race due to the retirement of Sergio Pérez.
Latifi has struggled to match the pace of Russell so far this year and will be hoping to climb a few places up the grid in the main event.
“It was quite uneventful for me but definitely more intense than a normal Grand Prix. There isn’t a lot of tyre management given the distance, so you just try and go as flat out as possible. In the end, we were just compromised by our starting position as we were unable to attack any of the other cars, and just hanging on to that position,” said Latifi.
“I am still frustrated from yesterday as we shouldn’t be starting where we are right now, I think it will be tricky to move forwards tomorrow and we will have to rely on a few opportunities to present themselves. It will be a long race, but anything can happen so we shall see.“
“We’ve had a solid day” – Dave Robson
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance at Williams Racing is pleased with how the day went for the team, despite Russell’s three-place grid penalty.
Silverstone has been uncharacteristically hot this weekend and Robson thinks that will play a big part in teams strategies going into the main race.
Robson said “We’ve had a solid day and remain in a good position to start the race tomorrow. It was a shame to lose a few places with George, but nonetheless he will start the Grand Prix in a relatively strong position. Nicholas has improved his starting position too and both cars are in good condition.“
“Tomorrow will be hot, and this will influence the strategies that people will employ in the race. We have some work to do tonight to work out what is the best option for us, but we are confident that we can do that and consequently put ourselves into a position to deliver a good performance tomorrow.“