George Russell says his lap to reach Q3 for the first time in a Williams was “something special” as he excelled in qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix.
Williams was strong throughout last weekend’s race at the Red Bull Ring and Russell just missed out on Q3 in 11th place but the free tire choice saw him running in the top eight before retiring. Wary of starting on softs this weekend — with softer tire compounds being used than a week ago — Russell’s final Q2 run was on mediums and saw him advance in 10th place, something he rates as one of his best performances.
“As Saturdays go, we usually do have some good Saturdays, but this was on another level,” Russell said. “We were debating before the session whether to do that Q2 lap on the softs or on the medium.
“We were worried about getting into Q3 on the softs, because we presumed a lot of guys would be doing the mediums. We managed to pull something out on the medium tire. (I was) properly hyped up in the car, probably the most I’ve been in a long time, to be honest. That was pretty special.”
With Sebastian Vettel blocking Fernando Alonso in Q2 and likely to pick up a penalty, Russell says he’s even better placed than this time last week given his starting tire advantage over the cars around him.
“We’re in P9 but I saw what happened with Sebastian, so we’ll say P8. That position is a great place to be in any circumstances, let alone on the medium tire. We have the AlphaTauris ahead of us on the softs, Sebastian and Lance (Stroll) on the softs as well…
“We’re in a really strong position, now it’s looking forward to the race. Ultimately, that’s the most important.”