George Russell says his emotional reaction to his first point-scoring finish for Williams in the Hungarian Grand Prix came from three years of building towards the result.
Williams took advantage of a chaotic race at the Hungaroring to score with both cars, as Nicholas Latifi finished seventh and Russell eighth as a result of Sebastian Vettel’s disqualification. The points are the first for the team since 2019 and the first for both drivers for Williams, and Russell – who finished ninth in his one-off appearance for Mercedes last year – says it’s the culmination of his whole spell in F1 so far.
“It means more than just scoring our first points,” Russell said. “It’s three years of hard work, dedication, tough moments — tough, tough moments — personally for everybody in the team. It’s more than what the result shows.
“It shows it has been worth it, shows you should never give up. We’ve got here because when we were last in every single race in 2019 we didn’t stop fighting. Now in 2021 we’ve got a faster car, maybe we wouldn’t have been on the top of our game like we were. It shows that no matter the situation there’s always something to learn, and you’ve just got to give it everything every time out there.”
Russell admits he was grateful for the FIA’s approach to the race restart when he jumped the field in the pit lane, running second to Lewis Hamilton for half a lap before being told to hand back all of the positions he had gained.
“Thanks to the FIA for showing a little bit of common sense as they could have given me a drive-through, which would have been a bit harsh. It’s a unique situation — everyone queueing, I saw an opportunity and thought, ‘Let’s go for it.’ Glad we were allowed to hand the positions back.”
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Russell’s result has been a long time coming but was somewhat overshadowed by Latifi, who was third in the first part of the race and finished one position ahead of his teammate.
“Coming into the race … it’s what we could have hoped for but probably not what was realistic!” Latifi said. “I guess the start sealed it all, just avoiding the carnage, then making the right call, as soon as we pulled away for the restart within two corners I was like, ‘Yeah, it is slicks — we have to pit.’ If no one else does it and you’re the only one, you give away a good starting place but it was clear, a lot of people pitted also.
“Then I just focused on my own race. I know I didn’t have the pace to stick to the guys in front when I was P3 so made sure I got my tires to the end, I struggled with them and got hit quite hard.
“I haven’t been in the points-scoring positions this year but George has, and as a team we’ve been making improvements from the start of the year to now and have been knocking on the door of those points, so it’s just so nice to get them and reward the team for that. On my side, personally extremely satisfied and for the team even more so as they’re working so hard.”