George Russell says his retirement from the Styrian Grand Prix shows how brutal racing can be after he was running in the top eight on merit.
Williams has not scored a point since 2019 and Russell has never scored for the team in his Formula 1 career, with his only points coming during a one-off appearance for Mercedes last year. After qualifying 11th and starting 10th in Austria, Russell was running eighth and attacking Fernando Alonso — whose Alpine was one of a number of cars ahead of him struggling on soft tires — when a power unit issue forced him to pit twice to try and address the problem before he retired.
“I’m just gutted for the team, to be honest — they’ve worked so hard to be in this position over the last three years, chasing these points,” Russell said. “We never really knew when they would come and we knew we would have to have a perfect weekend. We were such a great position — P8 on the medium tire, we would have been able to pounce at the end.
“I think P7 was probably possible, ahead of Alonso. Four or six points is massive, probably the difference between P8 and P10 in the championship. We go again next week.
“I wasn’t surprised (by the pace), to be honest, because I know we’ve done some really great work recently to improve the car, and I knew the pace on Friday was strong. I was obviously on the mediums compared to the guys ahead on the softs. I was driving my heart out, driving as fast as I could to keep behind a Ferrari, AlphaTauri, McLaren. We’re not normally in this position — we need to be proud of the job we did. Racing is just brutal.”
LAP 39/71 @GeorgeRussell63 retires after such a promising start to the race 😖
— Formula 1 (@F1) June 27, 2021
Russell’s only source of solace is the fact that F1 is racing at the Red Bull Ring again next weekend, but he says that’s no guarantee there will be another chance to score.
“Of course, we have a different tire compound next week which will play a big part in it all, but we did things perfectly until that point. Repeating that and relying on others to not do things perfectly, is not easy.
“That’s the thing for us, we know that these opportunities don’t come every day, we have to do everything great and others need to make mistakes for us to capitalize. Today was that day, but this is racing. It’s not meant to be easy.”