Russell says French GP was ‘best race ever’ with Williams

George Russell rated his run to P12 in the French Grand Prix as the best race he’s ever had with the Williams team.

At Paul Ricard, Russell upheld his 100 percent track record of making it into Q2 in qualifying this season, with ‘Mr. Saturday’ lining up 14th on Sunday’s grid.

But the Williams driver was overhauled by several rivals at the start although he clawed his way back to P14 by the time of his first pitstop and change from the medium to the hard compound tyres.

Russell’s one-stop strategy followed the general trend and eventually allowed him to spar with the likes of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda who he overtook justforu laps from the checkered flag to seize a 12th place finish.

Overall, it was a spirited drive and a job well done by Russell, and his best with the Grove-based outfit in his three seasons in F1.

“Yes, it was a really good afternoon,” he said after the race. “[We had] a couple of overtakes, managed to finish ahead of Ocon, the Alfas, Tsunoda. Managed to overtake Tsunoda on track – really happy about that to be honest.

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“We were there on merit, the car was [fast], that strategy was really well managed, so I’d go as far as saying that’s probably our best race we’ve ever had together with Williams!”

Russell’s second stint on the hard tyre which extended to 35 laps required some clever management, thanks to which he was able to gain the upper hand on Tsunoda in the closing stages of the 53-lap race.

“It was that limit between keeping the temperature in [the tyres] but not graining them: if you pushed too hard you had a chance of graining them; if you went too slow they would drop out the window,” he explained.

“So you’re just balancing this throughout the whole race but we did it really, really well, and like I said, happy to have managed to do the move at the end.”

  • Read also: F1i’s Driver Ratings for the 2021 French GP

Russell owned up to his poor start but reckoned it hadn’t impacted his race’s final result. However, a few retirements up ahead could have delivered to Williams that elusive first point.

“It was a shame about those opening laps,” he admitted. “I made a really bad start, really struggled, but I don’t think it changed a really huge amount.

“At the end, I think P12 was our absolute maximum. It was just a shame nothing really happened in front because P12 in merit for us is really strong,” he concluded.

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