Mr Saturday George Russell did it yet again, after qualifying an incredible third for Williams Racing at the Russian Grand Prix in mixed conditions qualifying. Team-mate Nicholas Latifi to start from the back of the grid after taking engine penalty.
Russell appears to have a knack for damp conditions, after making the right decision at the correct time to fit the soft tyres in final qualifying. The British driver had enough laps in Qualifying Three to get his slick tyres up to temperature, and launch himself into third on the drying Sochi Autodrom circuit.
The Williams driver’s qualifying was almost over at the first hurdle, after Russell launched himself out of the elimination zone on his final lap. His transition into final qualifying was much smoother.
So Russell will start on the second row of the grid where he has absolutely nothing to lose. Russell is amazed by the team’s performance yet again and is going to give it his absolute all on Sunday.
“P3 is an incredible result and the team did an amazing job once again. We’re riding a wave at the moment and it feels pretty great! It’s high risk and high reward in situations like these but I knew it would be slicks for the end of the session. I managed to get the tyres in a good window and was building up to the limit to give it everything I had on the last lap.
“Many people have said in the past that third is the best place to start in Sochi. I won’t be doing anything crazy but if there’s an opportunity there tomorrow I’ll go for it. It’s going to be a very tricky race but I’ll be defending hard and picking my battles. We’ve got to look forward but also be realistic as we’ve got some very fast cars behind us. It’s not going to be easy but I will be doing my best.”
“The pace felt very strong” – Nicholas Latifi
Nicholas Latifi is another driver to have had a new power unit fitted outside of his allocation. It’s a shame for Latifi who looked to have strong pace in Qualifying One, the Canadian comfortably made it into Qualifying Two where the team decided not to run the car.
Latifi will of course be starting from the back of the grid with his engine penalty, so the team decided not to risk any potential damage in Qualifying Two. Latifi is frustrated by what could have been a very strong session but will be pushing hard to make up the places on Sunday.
“The pace felt very strong today. You never know how well you’ll be able to switch on the tyres in the wet weather, but when I first hit the brakes I could tell the grip was there and it felt good, which clearly wasn’t the case for everyone. Even on a track that was constantly improving, the lap I set in the middle of Q1 was enough to get me through to Q2.
“Seeing what was possible in Q1 makes it more frustrating to be starting from the back of the grid due to the Power Unit change, but that’s racing sometimes. I’ll be pushing hard tomorrow to make up as many positions as I can in the race.”