Russell felt "car was driving me" after first Q1 exit of 2021

Williams Formula 1 driver George Russell admitted that “the car was driving me” in Hungary after failing to progress from Q1 for the first time in 2021.

Russell said he lacked confidence in the car during qualifying, and that caused him to take a cautious approach and not add extra front wing for his final run in Q1.

As a result he had more understeer that he wanted, and after a scrappy lap that saw him run wide at one point he had to settle for 17th on the grid.

Russell stressed that he and his team have to get everything right to progress through qualifying, and this time that didn't happen.

"I think the main thing to take away is, as I said on the radio, we can't get it right every time," he said. "I feel like we've probably performed excellently every single Saturday so far this year.

"Today we did just a fine job, but fine is not enough, and you'll get eliminated by doing a fine job. So that's the position we're in.

"And I just didn't have the confidence today to attack the car. I was always on the back foot. And definitely a lot to look into. Because ahead of this year, I would have said this was our best opportunity for points. Yet it's the first time we're out in Q1."

Russell admitted that the crucial wing set-up choice had proved costly.

"Usually you can afford to put more more front wing flap in the car as the session progresses. I didn't have the confidence after the first run.

"So I decided not to, and then I had a lot of understeer. So I think that's the key, is that you need confidence to be able to push the car. And today the car was driving me, I wasn't driving the car, and that set me back a lot."

Asked by Autosport/Motorsport.com to expand on why he hadn't made the change he said: "I didn't have the confidence to do that. Usually come qualifying everything takes a step up, I build confidence, and we seem to be able to nail it when when it matters.

George Russell, Williams FW43B

George Russell, Williams FW43B

Photo by: Motorsport Images

"But as soon as I did Turn 1 I knew I wouldn't be able to do that. I just didn't have a good feeling with the car."

Read Also:

Russell noted that the strong wind level, which has affected the car's form this year, was also a factor and "did not favour the characteristics" of the FW43B.

Williams head of vehicle performance Dave Robson also added that the "Malaysia" levels of heat also caused the team trouble as the tyres reacted to the temperatures in an unexpected manner.

"We had thought it would stay on the cool side this afternoon. But it didn't; the clouds obviously broke and it was just as hot this afternoon in qualifying as it had been yesterday.

"The reported track temperatures are incredibly high – it's similar to how it was the last couple of years in Malaysia after they'd resurfaced it. So that does make it tough.

"Obviously, that's the same for everyone – so we can't use that as any kind of excuse. I think the tyres did behave in those conditions not quite as we'd expected.

"There was a lot more understeer, so the front tyres seemed to be affected more than we had expected. Normally, you come here and it's very hot, and it becomes rear limited quite quickly. That didn't seem to be the case.

"But, to be fair from what I could gather from what other drivers were saying on the radio yesterday, most teams found the same."

shares
comments
Wolff: Hungary pace consolidates Mercedes’ Silverstone upgrades
Previous article

Wolff: Hungary pace consolidates Mercedes’ Silverstone upgrades

Next article

The Hungarian GP as it happened

The Hungarian GP as it happened
Load comments
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021