George Russell says a second podium in four races is his aim after qualifying third in the Russian Grand Prix.
The rain-hit event at Spa-Francorchamps saw Russell credited with a second place as he was classified where he qualified, and he almost matched that achievement on a drying track in Sochi. As the first driver to pit for slicks, Russell’s final lap put him third on the grid behind Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz and he believes he has a car that will be tough to overtake on Sunday.
“It’s crazy — it’s my second time in the top three in three or four events,” Russell said “The team have done an amazing job once again, pitting at the right time and putting the right tires on. It was tricky out there.
“There was one dry line and if you were just a couple of centimeters too wide you would have been on the wet stuff and you would have been off. Well done to Lando and Carlos and excited for tomorrow.
“I’m really looking forward to it. Yesterday our high-fuel pace was one of our best of the year. It’s still a long way behind these guys and the Mercedes who will be starting behind us. We will have a battle on our hands but we are pretty slippery on the straights, we have some nice straight-line speed, so we’ve got to go for the podium again — nothing to lose.”
Russell admits his decision to go on slick tires might have been triggered by a bit of miscommunication but he felt it was worth Williams taking the risk having used all of his new intermediates just to reach Q3.
“I came on the radio to say to the guys, ‘Let’s get the slicks ready, because it’s definitely going to go slicks,’ and they replied, ‘OK, let’s box this lap,’ so I thought they may have misunderstood what I meant by that radio comment.
“I said, ‘Let’s go for it.’ We’ve got to go for it in these sessions. High risk, high reward. Especially in these conditions. When I came out of the pit lane on the slicks, almost crashing straight out of the box…
“It was only that last lap, I kept getting a bit of traffic here and there. I couldn’t complete the laps so that was a bit frustrating, but as it was for everybody, I knew that last lap was going to be the killer lap, so we saved it all for them and here we are. It’s a bit surreal that it’s our second top three in four races now.”