George Gains Ground at Interlagos
After struggling for pace in Qualifying and the Sprint, George made up four positions in a stirring São Paolo performance.
Starting in P17, George was initially jumped by the fast-starting Haas pair, but instantly passed Nicholas Latifi and the puncture-stricken Lando Norris to exit the Senna Esses in his starting position.
When an early Safety Car period on was called on Lap 6 to clear debris caused by a collision between Yuki Tsunoda and Lance Stroll, the Williams team took the opportunity to pit George and switch from Mediums to the favoured Hard tyre and begin a long middle stint.
Surrounded by Medium runners and yet to get the tyres up to temperature, George found himself at the back of the pack by Lap 10. But, with the the help of a short Virtual Safety Car period, he was in position to gain places when the first pit window opened.
A further VSC came on Lap 30 and, having jumped others making their first stops, George was up to P12 by the restart. After his second stop on Lap 43, switching to another set of Hard tyres, George emerged from the pits for the final time in P16.
That rapidly became P15 with a smart move on the Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi and, while the Italian remained a threat on the softer rubber, George managed to extend his gap until the Medium tyre advantage wore off.
With retirements for Stroll and Ricciardo, George was promoted to P13 by Lap 51. From that point on, it was a case of looking after the car and bringing it home, crossing the line on Lap 71 in P13 place, four positions up on his grid slot.
George Russell – Williams Racing Driver
“Today was better than we expected. The first two stints were quite tough, we couldn’t make any progression the opening few laps and struggled on the restart, but the final stint was good, and we managed to stay ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi. Being able to keep an Alfa Romeo behind is a pretty big deal for us as we just didn’t have the pace this weekend. P13 is not what we are aiming for as a team but, given the circumstances, I think it was a good result. I’m more optimistic heading to Qatar as I think the Losail International Circuit will suit the characteristics of our car more than the last two races, so hopefully we can go there and can be faster next weekend.”
The action continues next weekend at the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix.