Russell explains how he made a "massive step" to reach Q3

George Russell has explained the factors that led to his "massive step" during Formula 1's 2021 British Grand Prix Friday qualifying Q2, which led to a second successive Q3 berth.

Russell qualified eighth for F1's first sprint qualifying race – the results of which will set the grid for Sunday's grand prix – his best against-the-clock result for Williams after he qualified ninth last time out in Austria.

He had made it through Q1 to continue his streak of escaping the opening segment at every race so far in 2021 but at that stage in proceedings was only ahead of Aston Martin's Lance Stroll in 14th.

But a gain of 0.441 seconds on his sole run in Q2 to set a 1m27.080s got Russell through to Q3, where his single flying lap ended with a time of 1m26.971s and the Briton beating Carlos Sainz  and Sebastian Vettel.

Speaking to reporters – including Motorsport.com – in the Silverstone paddock after Friday qualifying, Russell noted that "it's not the first time I've noticed that I improve probably more than I should during a session".

He added: "I think I just like to get an understanding of what the car is doing before then fully knowing how to extract the maximum from it.

"And I guess if you're in a top car that's going to sail through to Q2/Q3 that's exactly the strategy you want.

"But it was really coming towards us. My first lap in Q2 was fine, but nothing great. And then the second lap I made a massive step."

Read Also:

When asked if that improvement had been down to his efforts alone, Russell outlined a combination of factors that secured his result.

"[It was] everything," he explained. "Getting the tyres in a better window, exactly knowing what we needed to aim for on the out lap, me driving a bit better, very good position with a small slipstream from [Fernando] Alonso ahead.

"And all these things paid in our favour."

Russell had ended the opening practice session last, feeling "lost" and "lacking confidence", and losing his best time to running wide at Copse.

But the 23-year-old said he and Williams pinned their hopes on the changing conditions for a much later qualifying session that usual at Silverstone providing an additional boost for car handling.

"We had a bit of a decision to make after [practice]," said Russell. "Whether we try and improve the car and turn it upside down, or we just stick to our guns and hope the track comes towards us.

"And that's what we did – we stuck to our guns and the track did just come towards us, the tyres came towards us – everything got in a much nicer window.

"I just felt so confident and comfortable out there, which allows me to get that extra tenth or two."

shares
comments
Grand Prix qualifying results: Hamilton takes first-ever F1 sprint pole

Previous article

Grand Prix qualifying results: Hamilton takes first-ever F1 sprint pole

Next article

Mercedes' F1 upgrade revealed ahead of British GP

Mercedes' F1 upgrade revealed ahead of British GP
Load comments
Was Hamilton's Hungary solo start a good or bad look for F1? Prime

Was Hamilton's Hungary solo start a good or bad look for F1?

OPINION: Different perspectives had Lewis Hamilton’s solo second standing start in Formula 1’s 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix as fabulous or farcical. But did it make the championship appear too silly for the sake of a moment of high-charged sporting drama?

Why unseen Hungary heroics could be Latifi's making Prime

Why unseen Hungary heroics could be Latifi's making

The chaotic start to the Hungarian GP set the scene for F1's less heralded drivers to make a name for themselves. Esteban Ocon did just that to win in fine style, but further down the order one driver was making his first visit to the points and - while the circumstances were fortunate - took full advantage of the chance presented to him

Formula 1
Aug 3, 2021
Hungarian Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Hungarian Grand Prix driver ratings

This was race that showcased the best and worst of Formula 1, producing a first time winner and a memorable comeback to a podium finish. Avoiding trouble at the start and astute strategy calls were key to success, but where some drivers took full advantage, others made key errors that cost them dearly

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2021
The "heart-breaking" call that led to Ocon's Hungarian GP triumph Prime

The "heart-breaking" call that led to Ocon's Hungarian GP triumph

Set to restart the red-flagged Hungarian Grand Prix in second, Esteban Ocon had some doubts when he peeled into the pits to swap his intermediate tyres for slicks. But this "heart-breaking" call was vindicated in spectacular fashion as the Alpine driver staved off race-long pressure from Sebastian Vettel for a memorable maiden Formula 1 victory

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Prime

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021
Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track' Prime

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track'

Mercedes ended Friday practice at the Hungaroring with a clear gap to Red Bull thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s pace in topping FP2. But there are other reasons why the Black Arrows squad feels satisfied with its progress so far at a track many Formula 1 observers reckon favours Red Bull overall...

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks Prime

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks

OPINION: Red Bull was justified to be upset that Lewis Hamilton survived his British GP clash with Max Verstappen and went on to win. But its attempts to lobby the FIA to reconsider the severity of Hamilton's in-race penalty were always likely to backfire, and have only succeeded in creating a PR disaster that will distract from its on-track efforts

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach Prime

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach

OPINION: It wasn't just the Verstappen/Hamilton clash that had the Red Bull and Mercedes bosses at loggerheads at Silverstone, with the nature of Formula 1's 2025 engines also subject for disagreement. But hopes to have loud, emotive engines that are also environmentally friendly don't have to be opposed.

Formula 1
Jul 29, 2021