Verstappen says Russell outperformance also due to car

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Max Verstappen believes George Russell's talent isn't the only factor responsible for the Briton's remarkable performances this season, insisting that Williams is also fielding a very good car this year.

Two races after his sensational runner-up performance in qualifying at Spa, Russell delivered another showstopper last weekend in Sochi when he clocked in third at the end of Saturday's Q3.

On Sunday, Russell snatched another championship point, his fourth top-ten finish in five races. The result's validated once again, if necessary, Mercedes' decision to promote its protégé to a plum seat at its works team.

But Verstappen, while not denying Russell's skills, underlined what he believes is the quality of Williams FW43B.

"George for sure he’s a very, very good driver," the Dutchman said, quoted by

"But when you can do these kinds of things, it also shows that the car isn’t that bad as people think.

"He’s scored points and had good qualifyings, and for sure, in Spa, that car is not a Red Bull or a Mercedes, but they also ran more wing and more downforce.

"So naturally, everything just starts to become a bit closer.

"Nevertheless, he still did an amazing job, but I think people have to understand that that car isn’t as bad as people think it is."

Dave Robson, Williams' head of performance, agreed with Verstappen that the Grove-based outfit's car "is a factor" in Russell's over-achievements.

However, the Williams engineer also emphasized the good job his team is doing on the operational and strategy side of things on race weekends.

"I mean, yeah, the car is a factor," he said. "If it was really bad, then we wouldn’t be able to get those results. We haven’t added any wing to the car. So that is our best dry car put forwards.

"I think what we do a good job of is getting on the right bit of the track at the right time, generally, with a bit of an exception in George’s case being Q1 [in Russia].

"We do seem to be able to find some good grip from those intermediate tyres in those conditions. And in this case, the slicks as well at the end there.

"But I think that was all about just getting onto them early enough.

"The car has some strengths for sure, and certainly compared to last year’s car. It does have some strengths – it’s not terrible."

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