George Russell stood on a Formula 1 podium for the first time in his career on Sunday, with the Briton capitalising on the weather conditions and his excellent Qualifying performance to take Williams Racing’s first podium since the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
The British racer was the star of Saturday’s Qualifying session, taking an impressive second place on the grid, and when the race on Sunday was called without a single green flag lap being raced, it left Russell in second place and with nine more points to his name.
Russell admitted the conditions were ‘incredibly difficult’ on track when the cars did circulate around the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, with visibility at a minimum, and it was not surprise that the race did not get properly underway due to safety concerns.
“The conditions were incredibly difficult out there and even in second with only one car in front, sometimes I couldn’t even see Max (Verstappen) ahead,” said Russell. “I’m really sorry for everyone at the track and those watching around the world that we couldn’t race but safety has to come first.”
Despite the circumstances surrounding the result, Russell feels Williams deserve the podium finish after three years of pain and suffering that has seen them struggle even to score points since he debuted with them back in 2019.
“It’s a strange feeling as I’ve never had a race finish like this in my career, but a podium is a podium and we will take it no matter what,” said the Briton. “We were rewarded for the amazing job we did as a team yesterday.
“Obviously if the race had gone ahead today it would have been incredibly difficult for us to hold our position, but you’ve got to take it as it comes. It was only last race in Hungary that I scored my first points for Williams and here we are standing on the podium at the Belgian Grand Prix!
“It is a reward for all of the hard work everyone in the team has put in over these past three years.”
“This definitely isn’t the way I would have liked to finish the weekend” – Nicholas Latifi
Team-mate Nicholas Latifi made it a second consecutive double points score for Williams by taking ninth place, with the Canadian moving up a spot from where he started thanks to Sergio Pérez’s pre-race crash.
Latifi enjoyed one of his best Qualifying performances of his career on Saturday to qualify twelfth, and he then moved up two places thanks to grid penalties for both Valtteri Bottas and Lando Norris. And when Pérez crashed, the Canadian moved up to ninth, with one more point being added to the six he scored in Hungary.
“This definitely isn’t the way I would have liked to finish the weekend; I know we all would have liked to get out there and go racing, but unfortunately the conditions made it too dangerous,” said Latifi.
“It’s really unfortunate for the fans and I really feel for them having sat out in the cold the whole day, so thank you to everybody who stuck it out.
“From the team’s perspective, it’s more points and a podium which should help solidify our position in the championship, so that’s a big positive to take away from the day.”