George Russell says he will aim to move forward in the Sprint at the British Grand Prix after qualifying in eighth place at Silverstone.
The Williams driver secured his first Q3 appearance for the team with ninth on the grid in Austria two weeks ago, but a repeat looked unlikely as he ended FP1 in last place on Friday after having a lap time deleted. A major step forward by qualifying resulted in his best-ever Williams performance in eighth, and he admits it was a special lap at his home race.
“Incredible, incredible,” Russell said. “Damon Hill told me the crowd’s worth a second and I thought he was lying but maybe he’s right! Incredible support and an amazing feeling — second Q3, and we’re on this roll at the moment. Being here, seeing everybody, everything together, it’s great. I had a bit of a rubbish FP1 so I knew I needed to step it up for quali and we did that.
“The track was a bit green (in FP1), we were a bit lost with the setup and we said, ‘Right, let’s go back to basics, don’t overthink it, let the track come to us.’ I went out first lap Q1 and I knew we were in a good spot — buzzing to be honest. And my family are here, they haven’t been to a race since Abu Dhabi 2019 so that’s nice for me as well, and for them.”
While some drivers have been lowering expectations for the Sprint by saying they don’t want to risk too much as the final result sets Sunday’s grid, Russell sees an opportunity to make further progress.
“Things are going really well at the moment. It’s only Friday, we have a long way to go, but to get into Q3 in front of our home crowd is amazing and we’ve got a real chance this weekend, so we’re going for it.
“I think a lot of guys will try and play it a bit easy as they want a good starting position for Sunday but we’re going for it — it’s another race for me. I want to move forward and fight with these guys around me, and have the best starting position possible for Sunday, so I’m treating it like any other Sunday — Saturday this time — and just going for it.”