Russell: F1 sprint "offers an opportunity for Williams"

George Russell reckons rivals "playing it safe" in Formula 1's first sprint qualifying race at the 2021 British Grand Prix will give Williams the chance to score a high-profile result.

Russell: F1 sprint "offers an opportunity for Williams"

The 62-mile Saturday sprint race at Silverstone will set the grid for Sunday's grand prix, and follows Russell securing eighth place in Friday evening qualifying – his best against-the-clock result for Williams.

Russell said after the Austrian GP that he was "not too sure" that an extra race would suit Williams because "obviously we're normally a bit better on the quali performance than we are in the race".

But after "putting everything on the table" to reach Q3 for the second successive event – this time in front of a delighted home crowd – Russell hopes that a similar aggressive strategy will pay off for his team in Saturday's sprint race, with other drivers perhaps not fighting as hard in a bid to avoiding losing a high placing on the grid for the main race in an incident.

"We find ourselves in this position by putting everything on the table and we've got to do that again [in the sprint qualifying race]," Russell said, when asked by Motorsport.com about his potential tactics for the first race. "We've got to be aggressive and we've got to go on the front foot. Otherwise, we're going to get eaten up by the faster cars around us.

"It's not going to be easy, but I think a lot of guys are going to be playing it safe because they just want to be in a half-sensible position for [Sunday].

"Which, in itself, offers an opportunity for me. We've got to go for it and whatever happens, happens. We're only there because that's how we approach things."

Read Also:

Russell also said that he felt "a sense of responsibility when you've got all the crowd here [at Silverstone" and that that contributed to his performance in Friday qualifying.

He added: "I've got my family here for the first time in two years, friends in the grandstands – expectations from the team and everybody.

"And I love it to be honest. I thrive off that pressure. I guess I want more of it to be honest!"

Russell's Friday qualifying ended with a sole run in Q3, which he explained was because Williams "just wanted to get a time on the board compared to the guys on the used tyres that we knew we would be ahead [of] if a red flag [came]", even though his meant he was running solo on the track and minus a tow.

"I did my lap with no semi-slipstream, which was non-preferred to be honest," he continued. "I probably lost a tenth and half compared to my Q2 lap – just in the straights. And a tenth and a half would've put us P4 [Russell's 1m26.971s in Q3 was 0.143s slower than Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in fourth].

"Lando [Norris] said that was the reason why he went slower on his second run as well. But, we weren't expecting to find ourselves in that position. It's a constant learning game.

"Ultimately, we did a fantastic job to get there and it's about [Saturday] now."

shares
comments

Related video

British GP: Verstappen tops FP2 from Leclerc, Sainz

Previous article

British GP: Verstappen tops FP2 from Leclerc, Sainz

Next article

Ocon feels his F1 "pace is back" after Silverstone turnaround

Ocon feels his F1 "pace is back" after Silverstone turnaround
Load comments
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

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
How Lotus uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Prime

How Lotus uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021
The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Prime

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Callum Ilott what Red Bull couldn't Prime

How Ferrari offered Callum Ilott what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says Oleg Karpov, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021
The signs that point to F1's rude health Prime

The signs that point to F1's rude health

OPINION: Formula 1's calendar might still be facing disruption as the pandemic affects travel but, says Mark Gallagher, the business itself is fundamentally strong thanks to the epic rivalry taking place on track and the consistent arrival of new sponsors.

Formula 1
Jul 24, 2021