George Holds Firm in São Paulo Sprint
A close battle with teammate Nicholas Latifi while holding off a charging Kimi Räikkönen secures George P17 on the grid for the São Paulo Grand Prix.
Having shown an upturn in pace with P15 in the morning practice session, it was a P17 start for George at the Interlagos Circuit for Saturday’s F1 Sprint.
Lining up on the Medium compound tyre, as did those around him on the grid, George made a good initial start to move alongside the sister Williams on the run to Turn 1.
A row behind, however, Lewis Hamilton made a storming getaway in his Mercedes to pass both Haas and Williams cars around the outside.
As a result, George dropped down to P18 by the first corner and avoided trouble ahead to slot in behind teammate Latifi.
On Lap 2, contact for Kimi Räikkönen sent the Alfa Romeo driver spinning off at Turn 1 and to the back of the field.
The Finn soon made it past the Haas duo and, by Lap Seven, was within DRS range of George and pushing the Brit hard.
Forced to fend off the pressure from behind, by the halfway point George had fallen to 1.8s shy of Latifi but was still within reach of his teammate.
As the laps counted down, Räikkönen’s soft compound tyres began to degrade, and George’s focus returned to challenging his teammate ahead.
By Lap 18, George had closed the gap to the Canadian to break into the DRS window and, with six laps remaining, the gap ebbed and flowed.
However, with little chance to gain any further places beyond his teammate, George elected to hold position until the flag.
George Russell – Williams Racing Driver
“I had a bit of a battle out there but unfortunately it was a pretty processional Sprint Qualifying session for us today. In these short stints, it’s hard to gain a big tyre difference that gives you a chance to overtake. I think there will be some different strategies tomorrow which will offer opportunities, but we’re struggling for pace overall this weekend so we will have to see.”
George lines up P17 for tomorrow’s São Paolo GP, with lights out at 17:00 GMT.