Former British powerhouse Williams may be enduring a torturous season, the outfit on course to score zero points for the first time in more than 40 years of top-level competition.
But, F1 rookie George Russell continues to impress… despite nothing to show from the first nine races from Melbourne to Spielberg.
It’s a difficult situation especially as his Formula 2 classmates have shone, Lando Norris a standout at McLaren… Alexander Albon showing real flair at Toro Rosso. Both long-term prospects for the sport.
But, 2018’s F2 champion went into the main game with his eyes open, having pursued the drive throughout that year via Williams’ now former technical director Paddy Lowe…
SOUNDBITE (English) GEORGE RUSSELL,
F1 DRIVER, WILLIAMS:
“I gave him a call a few months ago and I said, ‘Right, I want to be on the Formula 1 grid next year and I want to be with Williams.’ A couple of weeks later I was having a meeting with himself and [deputy team principal] Claire [Williams] in Hockenheim and then things progressed from there.”
In Austria, Russell made the best of a pit lane start, rising up as high as 17th, passing teammate Robert Kubica, and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat in one move, then Haas’ Kevin Magnussen…
… before Kvyat re-passed on Lap 14… dropping him back to 18th, but Russell can feel the momentum on his side.
“I was pushing absolutely flat out on every single lap,” he said. “We need to be patient now, and wait for some more downforce.”
There’s hope for the future though, with Russell highly rated by Mercedes, a mid-season upgrade package coming before F1’s summer break.
… and news McLaren engineering director Pat Fry has just left that team, with expectations high that he will resurface at Williams, after serving out his gardening leave through to early 2020.
So things remain bright for Russell without him or the team even scoring a point. No wonder he’s still smiling!