'Nice to be racing other drivers at last,' says Russell

George Russell (GBR) Williams Racing FW42 and Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR14.
© XPB 

The Hungarian Grand Prix proved to be something of a breakthrough for Williams, and in particular for their rookie driver George Russell.

The 21-year-old from Kings Lynn was one of the stars of qualifying in Budapest, almost managing to put Williams into the second round for the first time in 2019.

The 2018 Formula 2 champion went onto to finish the race in 16th place. While not a match to his result the previous weekend in Germany - where he just missed out on scoring points in 11th place - it was achieved without the wet weather mayhem and high retirement rate of Hockenheim.

As a result, Russell legitimately finished just behind Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat and ahead of mid-field contenders Lance Stroll and Antonio Giovinazzi. It means he's been tipped as a possible replacement for Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes in 2020.

"It was nice to be racing other drivers," he said afterwards. “Definitely the best weekend of the year!

“Qualifying exceeded all expectations and exceeded the reality. We absolutely maximised our single lap, whereas the other teams made some errors."

"[The race] was a little bit back to reality," he admitted.

"We’ve still got work to do," he added. "We made a step but we’re still quite far from the rest.

"But there are a lot of positives to take from this weekend, we’ve made a good step forward.

"If we continue at this rate - and we should be able to continue at this rate - then we should be in the mix more often.”

Russell benefited from a new aero upgrade on the FW42 introduced by the team in Germany, but which got a proper outing at the Hungaroring.

George Russell (GBR) Williams Racing on the grid.

However as far as Russell concerned, the key to improving the pace of the Williams lay elsewhere.

“Tyres. All tyres. They’re a nightmare!" he said. Last weekend was an absolute disaster, this weekend was very positive.

"We need to see if this weekend was a one-off or not," he said.

Certainly his team mate Robert Kubica needs a little more luck once F1 resumes at Spa at the end of the month following the traditional summer break.

After picking up his first point of the season at Hockenheim, Kubica found himself firmly at the back of the field for the whole of the Hungary race weekend.

"The feeling wasn’t great in the car," the Pole said. "After the break we have completely different tracks.

"We will have to wait and see if we are able to close the gap, like George was able to do here [in Hungary.]"

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