At the end of yesterday’s qualifying, many asked the same question: what is Mercedes waiting for to announce George Russell in place of Valtteri Bottas for next season?
The English talent, even in the anomalous qualifying on Friday, once again managed to show all his immense potential allowing Williams to reach Q3 for the second round in a row.
If in Austria, however, George had managed to get an unexpected ninth time, at Silverstone the home rider achieved something incredible by signing the eighth time in 1’26 ” 971. Russell’s undertaking takes on greater significance if you look at the names of the drivers and single-seaters he managed to put behind him: Carlos Sainz, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso.
At the end of a Friday that will remain etched in his memory for a long time, Russell indulged in the microphones of Sky Sport F1 HD and did not hide the emotion for a result that is worth as much as a pole considering the means available.
“To do our best qualifying at Silverstone, in front of the fans back on track, is something extraordinary. I saw them cheer and it was a sensation never experienced before. I’m really happy to have done a good job ”.
Russell’s miracle takes on even more significance if you look at the gap paid by the Englishman against a flying specialist like Charles Leclerc and it was the Williams driver himself who underlined this aspect.
“We finished a tenth and a half from the fourth time set by Leclerc. It’s something incredible, I don’t know what else to say. I’m really happy, but I’m already looking forward to Sprint Qualifyng ”.
Russell then explained the great progression made over the course of the entire session. The Brit risked elimination in Q1, finishing with the 14th time in 1’27”671 and then improving in Q2 and getting the 7th reference in 1’27”080 and finally signing the eighth time in 1 ‘ 26 ” 971.
“This is not the first time that I have improved more than I should in a session. I think it has to do with the fact that I like to understand what the car is doing before I know how to extract its maximum potential and that is what happened in Q2. The first lap went well, but nothing exceptional, while with the second I made a huge step forward ”.
Today all the drivers will have to face the unknowns of the Sprint Qualifying which will determine the starting grid for tomorrow’s race. Russell said he was aware of the great opportunity that this afternoon’s race represents and declared that he will go on the attack for all 100 kilometers planned.
“I don’t know how it will go. In Formula 1 we are used to starting with the maximum fuel load, while on Saturday we will race with a third of the tank. Will this factor change things? Will the pilots be more cautious? I do not know. I only know that I will be aggressive and I will try to bet at the maximum ”.