George Russell says his performances are only going to get stronger as his confidence has taken a big step forward as he gets to race more with other drivers this season.
Williams was well off the pace in 2019, meaning Russell spent the majority of his rookie year only racing his teammate at the time, Robert Kubica. This year, however, Williams is more competitive and the 2018 Formula 2 champion has made a number of Q2 appearances while also fighting with the likes of Alfa Romeo and Haas in races, something he says is making a clear difference to his confidence on Sundays.
“Yeah, definitely a corner turned,” Russell said. “Just from within, the confidence is much, much greater now. I’ve had some good starts, I’ve had some bad starts this year. The bad starts have been slightly unfortunate — wrong place wrong time rather than just a huge lack of confidence like I had last year.
“(In Spain) I was really confident putting the car in positions it should be. I should have got past (Esteban) Ocon as well at Turn 3, I think I was in his blind spot; he just completely closed the door and I had to get out onto the grass so Romain (Grosjean) got past but I re-overtook him again.”
After a particularly close fight with Kimi Raikkonen during the last race in Barcelona, Russell says the experience is helping him improve more quickly as a driver than last year.
“I’m feeling good now; I’m feeling confident again, but it’s always difficult. We have a very sensitive car aerodynamically and when you do have a car that has ordinarily the least amount of downforce on the grid in calm conditions and then you’re trying to fight against guys…. I was fighting against Ocon on Lap 1 — a guy that’s in a car that’s a second a lap quicker than mine — (so) it’s very tricky. But nevertheless, like I say I feel like I’ve turned a corner.
“The future, we’ll see in the coming races, but I feel more confident and every race I do, having experiences like fighting with Romain, fighting with Kimi is just boosting my confidence every single time to understand what to do in these circumstances. That’s exactly what I need to keep progressing as a driver.”