Williams: No change in Russell's approach despite speculation

Williams says nothing has changed in George Russell’s approach to Formula 1 despite the speculation about his future in the championship at this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix. 

Williams: No change in Russell's approach despite speculation

Russell has been the subject of rumours regarding his place at Williams in 2021, with suggestions he could be replaced by Sergio Perez – despite the team announcing in July, before it was taken over by Dorilton Capital, that he and teammate Nicholas Latifi would carry on for next year. 

The Mercedes-backed driver finished 14th in qualifying at Portimao on Saturday, a day after Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said his future at Williams was entirely for the British team to decide. 

Williams’ acting team principal, Simon Roberts, had refused to confirm the team’s driver line-up for 2021 – beyond saying "nothing has changed" since the July announcement.  

When asked how Russell was handling the situation by Motorsport.com, Dave Robson, Williams’ head of vehicle performance, replied: “Nothing's changed in terms of his approach and his attitude.  

“He's just the same and has done as good, or possibly even a better job, than he's done in past qualifying events. So, he's just the same.” 

Read Also:

Russell is yet to be beaten in qualifying by a teammate, 32 races [33 qualifying sessions] into his F1 career, with his Q2 appearance in Portugal making it seven times he has advanced from the first part of qualifying in 2020. 

Robson suggested that the disrupted practice sessions at this weekend’s event gave Russell a chance to shine again as it is “another opportunity for the real talent to come to the top”. 

He added: “That's just what really good drivers do when they're put in that position. I mean, he does have a great talent of pulling out that lap on a Saturday afternoon.  

“But I think, particularly this weekend, he probably had the better of it yesterday, with the test [front floor and bargeboard] parts that were on Niki's car - that we went back on [with a chassis change for Latifi overnight from Friday].  

“But I think George does have a very strong inherent ability to kind of just build that momentum through the weekend.  

"I mean I guess you could ask the same question about Lewis [Hamilton] and beating Valtteri [Bottas] this afternoon, which is probably a bit of a kick in the teeth for Valtteri, I'd have thought, after the three practice sessions [that Bottas had topped].  

“But I think it's just a natural talent - being able to build that momentum and really pull it out when it counts.” 

Williams has tended to struggle more in races compared to qualifying so far in 2020, and has been trying to understand why – with “not with a huge amount of success’, according to Robson. 

“We've tried quite hard, tried numerous things to rebalance the Saturday-to-Sunday pace,” he said. Not with a huge amount of success, sadly, I don't think.  

“Again, we'll see how it goes because we have made some compromises - [what] we thought were compromises that would help [in the race].  

“But I mean, it might be that George is actually particularly good at outperforming the car over one lap and has still got some learning to do and some experience to gain on how to exploit that on these tyres over longer runs.  

“Truth is, I don't know. We're continuing to investigate.” 

shares
comments

Related video

Formula 1 Portuguese Grand Prix – How to watch, start time & more

Previous article

Formula 1 Portuguese Grand Prix – How to watch, start time & more

Next article

F1 drivers concerned about “dangerous” Portimao pit exit

F1 drivers concerned about “dangerous” Portimao pit exit
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Portuguese GP
Drivers George Russell
Teams Williams
Author Alex Kalinauckas
Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish” Prime

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish”

We’ve seen five distinct versions of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes as he’s tried to fulfil his own ambitions while being a consummate team player – two difficult, competing missions which have been challenging to reconcile. Speaking exclusively to Stuart Codling, Bottas explains his highs and lows… and why he still believes he can be world champion.

Formula 1
May 15, 2021
How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean? Prime

How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But how long will their battle remain clean? Jonathan Noble ponders that exact point

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Prime

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Prime

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button.

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Prime

How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace Prime

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace

Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

Formula 1
May 6, 2021