Russell blasts 'too many mistakes' in qualifying

George Russell (GBR) Williams Racing. 09.10.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 16, Turkish Grand Prix, Istanbul
© XPB 

George Russell was blaming himself for making too many mistakes in qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix after he narrowly failed to make it through to the final round and into the top ten.

The Williams driver has been a regular star of Saturday's sessions in recent outings, and put himself into third place on the grid last time out in changeable conditions in Sochi.

With rain a factor once more in Istanbul, a similar sensational upset might have been on the cards again this week. But a crucial error on his final run in Q2 meant he missed the cut and had to settle for a relatively lowly 13th starting spot on Sunday instead.

"George was on an excellent lap on the option [soft] tyre when a small mistake at the last corner robbed him of a certain place in Q3," noted Williams' head of vehicle performance Dave Robson.

"There were too many mistakes on my side today," Russell lamented. "At the end of Q2, I was on a really strong lap which would have easily been good enough to get us through to Q3.

“It's very frustrating because that lap would have probably been good enough for P5, a good six or seven tenths inside the Q3 cut-off," he said. "Unfortunately I lost all the time in the last corner, which is a big shame as the lap up to that point was incredible

“I was really pushing my limits - and went over it twice today, which is two too many mistakes on my behalf," he sighed. "I’m really trying to push the boundaries at the moment, but I went over it today and it’s not good enough from my side.

“I’m a bit disappointed in myself," he admitted. "We need these conditions to offer these opportunities. Today was an opportunity and I missed out."

George Russell (GBR) Williams Racing FW43B. 09.10.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 16, Turkish Grand Prix, Istanbul

Russell explained that it was in difficult track conditions such as today that he should be really able to make a difference at the wheel.

“All the drivers are in the same situation, and it's where I sort of pride myself to try and make a bit of a difference,” he said. "Today we had the opportunity, and we were one corner short of having another one of those special Saturdays

“The pace of the car was not there yesterday we were very slow, but today we got it fired up in these difficult conditions. [We should have] made the most of it,” he added. “But here we are, starting P13 tomorrow rather than potentially inside the top 10.

“Starting inside the top ten, if you make a good start you can easily find yourself top eight, top seven," he noted. "After the first lap, everything's different.

"Now with a stellar first lap tomorrow we'll be top ten at best, and with the inherent car pace it’s not enough."

George Russell (GBR) Williams Racing FW43B. 09.10.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 16, Turkish Grand Prix, Istanbul

But that said, Russell isn't giving up on the chance to make an impact on Sunday. “It'll be a long race tomorrow. I don't know if anybody knows what the correct strategy will be," he said, adding: "The green track means that nobody knows for sure what the right strategy is going to be."

Russell's team mate Nicholas Latifi was also unable to make the most of the variable conditions and missed the cut at the end of Q1 leaving him starting from 16th on the grid tomorrow.

"The car was feeling decent and the track conditions were quite changeable, with the rain starting and stopping, so it was about being on the track at the right moment and setting a lap when it mattered.

"Every time I was doing a lap, it was consistently putting me in the top 15. But on the last two laps, when the track was at its driest, we didn’t execute it.

"It’s very frustrating as the performance has been good enough to progress into Q2 in the last few races."

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