George Russell is hopeful Williams will be in midfield mix more often in the season’s second half following a breakthrough weekend in Hungary (pictured).
Williams started the season comfortably off the pace of the rest of the field as a result of an uncompetitive car that was delivered late for pre-season testing. A recovery plan was put in place and recent car developments had shown some progress, but after a more significant upgrade was introduced in Germany the team made a clear step forward in Budapest. Russell just missed out on a spot in Q2 and finished 16th in a race that saw only one retirement.
“It was definitely the best weekend of the year,” Russell said. “(Qualifying) exceeded all expectations and exceeded the reality. We absolutely maximized our single lap whereas the other teams made some errors — you saw the mess with (Sergio) Perez and (Daniel) Ricciardo.
“I think (the race) was more of the reality. We made a step but we’re still quite far from the rest. But if we continue at this rate — and we should be able to continue at this rate — we should be in the mix more often.”
The rookie attributes much of the step forward to the way Williams gets the Pirelli tires working, and believes the lessons it can take from Hungary will at least change the team’s approach during a race weekend.
“I’d like to think we can carry this through into future races. I’m not convinced but I think we just need to be more dynamic to the situation, have less preconceived thoughts on how we need to approach something and try more across the weekend. We haven’t really tried enough different things purely on the tires and that’s something I regret slightly but (Budapest) has definitely been a huge learning for all of us. “
However, Russell says the difficulty Williams had in getting performance out of its upgraded car in Germany should act as a warning that there are no guarantees of a repeat of Hungary at other venues.
“The fact is we’ve done two weekends with the updates. Germany was an absolute disaster, (Hungary) was very positive. We need to see if that was a one-off or not.”