Russell explains "Pastor Maldonado moment" in qualifying

Williams Formula 1 driver George Russell revealed he had a “Pastor Maldonado moment" when he ran wide before starting his first flying lap in Emilia Romagna Grand Prix qualifying.

Russell explains "Pastor Maldonado moment" in qualifying
Listen to this article

The 23-year-old Briton, who will start 12th on the grid at Imola, was switching to his Mercedes power unit’s push mode in Q1 when he got sideways and ran across the gravel. He was trying to leave the change to the last possible moment in order to gain the maximum benefit over his flying lap.

Reflecting on the concentration lapse, he compared himself to former Williams driver Maldonado, who made 58 F1 starts for the team between 2011 and 2013 in an eventful grand prix career that is remembered as much for the Venezuelan's proclivity for incidents as his one-lap speed.

"It's no secret that Mercedes are struggling a bit with the battery deployment, and every single metre gives you a metre at the end of the lap," Russell explained. “So I wanted to go into that mode as late as possible, as in halfway through the corner, before I picked up the power.

“Tyres were a bit cold, I wasn't fully concentrated. It contributed to a Pastor Maldonado moment!"

Read Also:

Russell was able to recover later in the session and he progressed to Q2 in 14th place, although he only just got round in time to beat the chequered flag.

"I only crossed the flag by two seconds, I believe, two or three seconds," he revealed. "I had Danny [Ricciardo] right behind me. He was planning to overtake me with the DRS.

“And due to the straightline speed I could stay ahead of him - I managed to speed up and stay ahead of him. Very relieved, but it was a good lap.”

Russell subsequently ran a very strong lap on medium tyres at the start of Q2. He felt so comfortable that he was tempted to have another run on mediums, but the team opted to save a new set for the race. He thus went out on softs and logged 12th place on the grid.

“I actually wanted to do my second set on the medium tyre because I was P10 at the time, or P11, with a medium, which was quite surprising," he said. "We obviously opted for the soft, and improved by three-tenths.

“It was still a very good lap, so all in all, really happy with Q2 to be in P12. It was better than expected before the session."

Read Also:

Russell is confident that he can make amends for last year’s disappointment at Imola, when he lost a potential points finish with a crash under the safety car.

“I'd say the car is looking better for race trim than it is in quali trim," he said. "We've got we've got fastest car on the straight, so it's all looking promising. But this is the true pace of the car.

“This may be one of our better circuits, but this is where I hope and expect to be for most of the season, in the mid-range of Q2 and hopefully at points fighting for Q3."

shares
comments

Related video

Allison doesn't want Mercedes F1 team boss role - Wolff
Previous article

Allison doesn't want Mercedes F1 team boss role - Wolff

Next article

Bottas 'couldn't trust rear-end' of Mercedes car in Imola Q3

Bottas 'couldn't trust rear-end' of Mercedes car in Imola Q3
Why Mercedes believes it can make the step F1 needs to fight Red Bull Prime

Why Mercedes believes it can make the step F1 needs to fight Red Bull

The 2022 Formula 1 season was Mercedes' leanest for a decade, achieving just a solitary pole and grand prix win. Yet the team is confident it has got the tools it needs to cast that disappointment aside and return to the front of the field again next year.

How BRM's one-off F1 double defied its rollercoaster history Prime

How BRM's one-off F1 double defied its rollercoaster history

It’s 60 years since BRM achieved its goal and Graham Hill led the team to a world title double. But that was just part of the remarkable story of a unique team that at times overstretched its resources and had its fair share of disappointments.

Formula 1
Dec 8, 2022
The bold F1 DRS experiment that could end the debate forever Prime

The bold F1 DRS experiment that could end the debate forever

OPINION: The effectiveness of DRS in Formula 1 remains a topic of debate as the winter break gives a chance for reflection on the racing we saw in 2022. For all of its detractors, perhaps an experiment where DRS is cast aside and the impact this has on racing is in order to truly understand its merits in modern F1.

Formula 1
Dec 8, 2022
The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche Prime

The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche

OPINION: Everything looked set for Red Bull and Porsche to join forces for the 2026 season, before the marriage between both parties was called off. While at the time it looked like a major coup for Formula 1 in gaining both VW Group powerhouses Audi and Porsche for 2026, Red Bull and Porsche have really been spared a potentially fractious relationship.

Formula 1
Dec 7, 2022
How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive Prime

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive

Glory days for Tyrrell became increasingly infrequent
 after Jackie Stewart’s retirement. But in the latest instalment of his history of the team for Autosport's sister title GP Racing, 
MAURICE HAMILTON recalls how Ken Tyrrell’s plucky and defiantly small team stayed bold enough to innovate – springing a surprise with F1’s first six-wheeled car

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2022
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Prime

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Motorsport.com in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi.

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Prime

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022