Russell: Chinese GP rivals passed me "like I'm stood still"
Williams driver George Russell says he felt like he was “stood still” when he found himself racing Formula 1 cars from other teams in the Chinese Grand Prix.
Russell's strategy of starting on medium tyres meant he had climbed to as high as 12th after several midfield cars made early pitstops and Daniil Kvyat served a drive-through penalty in the Toro Rosso.
But the Williams man was shuffled down the order before long, and, when asked by Motorsport.com about how it felt to be racing other cars, admitted he took little interest in the short-lived battle.
“I wasn’t even looking, to be honest,” he said. “The pace differential is so large that they come and go like I’m stood still, really.
“It’s not really a surprise, we know what our pace is and my job is to make the most of that.”
Russell said his lowly 16th-place finish was an expected one as “we're just being realistic” about the FW42's current pace, but nevertheless described the Chinese GP as “an intriguing race”.
He was happy with how he stacked up against teammate Robert Kubica, who finished 16 seconds behind despite making one stop fewer. The Pole was left admitting that he had “no race pace”.
Russell said: “I was really pleased with my first stint, I pulled a sizeable chunk to Robert and at this stage he’s the only person I can compare myself with. We were sort of hanging on to the cars ahead of me.”
However, Russell's own race was later compromised by having to slow down to allow the leading cars to lap him, which led to his Pirelli rubber dropping out of the temperature range.
“In my middle stint it was very tricky because I came out of the pitlane on the harder tyres, had two really good laps, and then I started getting blue flags,” he explained.
“Once I got the blue flags the tyres just dropped out of the window. I was pushing absolutely flat out and they weren’t coming back to the window.
“Because of that the tyres weren’t in the range and I was just getting slower and slower, and the tyres were getting colder and colder. That’s why we had to do the additional pitstop at the end, unexpectedly.”
F1 not headed for Williams '92 repeat, says Brawn
Vettel irked by "poor journalism" over Ferrari team orders