George Races for Anthoine at Spa-Francorchamps
George Russell finished the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps in 15th position, on a weekend that will sadly be remembered for the tragic accident involving his former GP3 teammate Anthoine Hubert.
Formula One returned after the annual ‘summer break’ to Spa-Francorchamps for Round 14 of the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship.
George’s summer break was slightly longer, as test driver Nichola Latifi piloted his FW42 in the first Free Practice Session on Friday.
The Briton was back in the car on Friday afternoon and out early to maximise track time and preparation for qualifying and the race.
Qualifying on Saturday saw numerous red flag interruptions affect the session. Teammate Robert Kubica and Antonio Giovinazzi both suffered engine failures which scuppered all but one of George’s qualifying attempts – meaning only his initial flying lap was unaffected, as he qualified P19 with a 1:47.548s.
The grid for Sunday’s race changed drastically in the lead up to the start, as numerous power unit component penalties saw George elevated to P15 on the grid for his first Belgian Grand Prix.
George survived the melee at Turn 1, created by a collision between Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen – which caused George to take to the escape road, losing ground and positions from avoiding action.
George emerged in 17th position, as a train of cars developed all within DRS Range of each other with George running his race just behind this pack, despite the straight line deficit of the car.
He executed a one stop strategy, running a long first stint on the Medium compound tyre before switching to the Soft tyre on Lap 30 – which he ran to the end, finishing in 15th position at the chequered flag.
George Russell - ROKiT Williams Racing Driver:
“It’s been a difficult day for everyone with the devastating news. Anthoine was a really great guy and I hope we did him proud, racing in his honour.
I didn’t make a good start; I was forced to the outside and then I saw Raikkonen going through the air with a lot of debris. I committed to the escape road, then when I came back on Verstappen was going slow, so I lost a lot of positions.
Our pace was ok, although I don’t know the end gaps to the guys ahead of us. Overall, it was quite a lonely race. This was always going to be the toughest race of the year for us. Next weekend we must reset, fight and see what we can do.”
Formula One heads to the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza in just one weeks’ time for the Italian Grand Prix on the 6-8 September.
Photographs Courtesy of XPB Images
Additional Press Content Courtesy of ROKiT Williams Racing