George Secures Best Finish in Germany Wet Weather Epic
ROKiT Williams Racing Driver George Russell narrowly missed out on scoring his maiden points in Formula One, in what was a thrilling and chaotic German Grand Prix that took place in changeable conditions at the Hockenheimring.
George qualified P18 for the German Grand Prix, extending the perfect qualifying score and advantage over his teammate Robert Kubica in the intra-team ROKiT Williams Racing battle. He would start P17 for the race, following grid penalties for Sebastian Vettel and Lando Norris.
The heavens opened before the start of the race, providing a new challenge for all the drivers – who had yet to drive the new Wet weather Pirelli tyres in 2019. Even more so of a challenge for George, as it would be the first time he has ever driven a Formula One car in wet conditions.
Following some initial laps behind the Safety Car, the cars lined up on the grid for the traditional standing start. The treacherous conditions saw the first Safety Car deployed when Sergio Perez crashed on Lap 3. George pitted for Intermediate tyres in his first of five pitstops in the race.
As the opening stint played out, George was running as high as P15 as the different strategies played out. Drivers were gambling on Intermediate and even Slick tyres in the first half of the race. Turn 17, which is lined with a ‘drag racing strip’ made the run-off area almost like ice, which claimed numerous drivers, including Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc– triggering a Safety Car period when the former crashed on Lap 29.
When the race restarted on Lap 33, George was running in 14th position and kept in touch with the pack ahead, before Nico Hulkenberg became another victim of Turn 17 – bringing out the Safety Car on Lap 41.
A few drivers decided to gamble on Slick tyres during the Safety Car Period, which saw George elevated into 11th position and within touching distance of the points.
Conditions began to improve, with George pitting for the final time on Lap 48 for Slick tyres, emerging in 13th position.
A small mistake at Turn 2 saw him have to take to the escape road – conceding track position to teammate Robert Kubica for the first time in the race. The final Safety Car was deployed when Valterri Bottas span at Turn 1 and crashed into the barriers on Lap 57. Setting up a frantic showdown in the final stint of the race – where George crossed the line in 13th position.
Post-race however, the two Alfa Romeo Racing cars of Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi were disqualified following a clutch setting technicality, promoting George to 11th position – just missing out on his first championship points in Formula One.
George Russell - ROKiT Williams Racing Driver:
“It was extremely challenging. It wasn’t ideal conditions for anyone out there and it was a long race. We should have taken slicks under the penultimate safety car, but I think we took the conservative approach when we should have maybe rolled the dice.
There were 13 or 14 other drivers on the grid who didn’t do that so it’s not exactly that we made the wrong call, but we had the opportunity to make the right call. We kept it on the black stuff when a lot of people didn’t, and it was the best result of the year. It seems okay but there was a chance for more.”
Formula One now heads to the Hungaroring in Budapest for the next race on the 2-4 August.
Photographs Courtesy of XPB Images
Additional Press Content Courtesy of ROKiT Williams Racing