Russell’s lack of rhythm and tyre set usage led to Q1 elimination

George Russell was eliminated in Q1 for the first time this season after a 10-race streak of Saturday successes to proceed any further.

Russell is renowned for his qualifying performances amongst the Formula 1 community which led to the nickname ‘Mr. Saturday’.

Much to his surprise, the Williams driver did not live up to that name today as his qualifying session ended in Q1 where he could only achieve 17th.

“From our side ahead of the weekend, I thought Q2 would be a breeze but for some reason, I didn’t have the same rhythm as I have had on other circuits,” Russell explained in an interview with Sky Sports.

But despite his surprise, Russell showed a mark of sportsmanship to accept he “can’t get it right every time”.

His recent qualifying performances were defined by a ninth in Austria qualifying and again in the previous Grand Prix at Silverstone.

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“Usually, I go into qualifying and I get into a groove, and I can just pull the lap out. Today when I crossed the line, I knew it didn’t all come together for me.

“I wasn’t in that good feel or the right rhythm with the car or the tyres and I know it wasn’t good enough,” he told Sky Sports.

Russell mentioned other factors that added to his Q1 exit.

One of which disrupted many drivers’ performances today, including Carlos Sainz’s crash, were the tailwinds.

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Another of the factors that may have had a role to play in the unfortunate fate of Mr. Saturday’s Saturday was the tyre choice, or the number of sets used.

“The Alfa Romeo drivers used three sets of tyres. If we had used three sets of tyres, we would have made it into Q2, but [would] have struggled in Q2 to get into Q3.

“It depends on how you want to play your cards.”

“I don’t want to sit on the fence. I want to put everything on the table and that’s why we decided to only use two sets of new tyres.”

He forgives himself for the end to his qualifying streak after putting the team into Q3 in back-to-back races for the first time since 2017.

There is no doubt Russell will look to get his Williams back in qualifying form again after the summer break to pursue his maiden F1 points finish.