Front row Russell wants points in Belgian Grand Prix
By Mat Coch
Sunday 29th August, 2021 - 11:50am
George Russell has stated that a points finish in the Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix is a “minimum” requirement following a stunning qualifying performance.
The Brit will line up alongside Max Verstappen on the front row for Sunday’s race, the Red Bull driver stealing away pole position in the final moments of qualifying on Saturday.
Russell progressed to Qualifying 3 in tricky wet conditions, taking to the Spa-Francorchamps circuit as the first car on track in the final phase of the session.
He’d already negotiated Eau Rouge and Raidillon when Lando Norris crashed to draw the red flag.
At the restart, he headed back out on a set of the extreme wet tyres, only to immediately return to the pits for a set of intermediates.
It was an inspired choice and left him slightly off sequence with the other runners.
As a result, his best lap came at a point when few had the chance to respond, Verstappen proving to be the only driver capable.
“An incredible team effort,” the Williams driver began.
“The car was really on it in these wet conditions.
“There’s so much that has to go right, all the little details, and they give the driver the confidence because we aren’t doing many laps.
“The conditions are so tricky, constantly changing, you’ve got have that confidence to be able to extract the most.
“We had the extreme tyres on at the start, which were the incorrect tyres and only had one lap at the end.
“I was in the fortunate position that I could put it all on the table and just absolutely go for it,” he added.
“Definitely wasn’t expecting to be in the front row this weekend, that’s for sure.”
Weather forecasts predict the rain seen during qualifying to hang around for Sunday’s race, news which was well received by Russell.
The Williams has proved a capable car in the wet, with Nicholas Latifi qualifying 12th in the sister car.
While aware of the opportunity that presents itself in the race for a good result, Russell is also pragmatic about his chances.
“We’ve obviously got to be realistic, we’ve got incredibly fast cars behind us,” he said.
“If the conditions stay the same, we’ve got a car that’s probably quick enough for on merit the top 10.
“Obviously, if we were starting the front row, there’s no reason why we can’t try and hold that position for the majority of the race but I don’t think I’m going to do anything stupid with the cars around me that are clearly going to be faster than us.
“But I think there’s no reason why we can’t finish, if conditions are like this, top five and just maximise it.
“Points is an absolute minimum.”
The Belgian Grand Prix gets underway at 23:00 AEST tonight.