Russell can’t believe how close he was to Q3

George Russell can’t believe how close he was to a first Q3 appearance, after an impressive qualifying performance for the Styrian Grand Prix.

Russell starred in a rain soaked qualifying session at the Red Bull Ring, and ended up 12th fastest, his best result in Formula 1 so far.

His Q2 appearance was also the first time Williams has made it into the second qualifying session since Brazil 2018, and while the 22-year-old was over the moon with his result, he couldn’t believe how close he was to a Q3 appearance, after missing out by just 0.091s.

Speaking after qualifying, Russell said: “Q2 was our target this weekend, but if someone told me it would be less than a tenth to Q3, I wouldn’t have believed that.

“It was incredibly tricky out there. I couldn’t see at many points, but I gave it everything I had, and it worked out.

“The car was feeling good and I had a lot of fun out there. I am really pleased for all the guys who come week in week out fighting.

“It is not quite the true pace of our car, but it’s a real boost for everyone in the team.

“Overall it was a great qualifying session, I am really happy and let’s see what we can do tomorrow.”

Having had their best qualifying performance in nearly 18 months, Williams are hoping they can continue their form in to Sunday’s race which is forecast to be dry, with Williams’ Head of Vehicle Performance, Dave Robson confirming that the Grove-based squad are aiming for a top ten finish.

“George opted to start his session a little later and he was more fortunate with the flags.” added Robson.

“However, his pace was strong throughout and he fully deserved his place in Q2.

“For Q2 we had only one set of new tyres remaining and opted to fit them for the beginning of the session.

“This proved to be a good decision as conditions steadily worsened. Along with his own inherent pace, this decision helped him to outqualify Stroll and also to get extremely close to Leclerc.

“Tomorrow we are expecting a dry race and we think that the car will perform well in those conditions.

“With the help of the factory we have made a few changes to the cars since last weekend and we are now looking forward to racing hard throughout tomorrow as we aim to secure a strong top 10 finish.”