Pair of Points Finishes for George in Austrian Grand Prix Sprint Weekend
The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One® Team driver looked to maximise his weekend in Austria before his home race at Silverstone next time around.
In the sole Free Practice session of the Sprint weekend, George was able to finish in the top 10, before qualifying on Friday afternoon.
The times around the Red Bull Ring were incredibly close throughout the timed sessions, and George sadly was unable to progress further than Q2, lining up 11th on the grid for Sunday's Grand Prix.
Saturday was set aside for Sprint action, beginning with the Sprint Shootout. While George safely made it through Q1, a technical issue meant he was unable to participate in Q2, therefore starting 15th.
Rain arrived for the Sprint race and George, starting on Intermediates, was able to make up some good ground early on.
The track was beginning to dry as the Sprint entered its second half, and by lap 15 George had taken the gamble for slick tyres – being the first driver to do so in the race.
This call worked out fantastically for George and Mercedes, and they were able to gain positions quickly, either on drivers who pitted afterwards, or those who stayed out.
By the last lap, George had worked his way into the points-paying positions. He came up on Esteban Ocon as the finish line approached, and tried to make a move on the Alpine driver but came up short by just nine-thousandths of a second.
George finished eighth in the Sprint, picking up one point, and looked to make progress in the Grand Prix from 11th.
Starting on Medium tyres with a few drivers on Hards, George held position at the start of the race and after a brief Safety Car.
He lost a position to Sergio Perez’s Red Bull, before pitting for the first time for Hard tyres during a Virtual Safety Car on lap 14 of 71.
George gained a few positions on the track and through the pitstop cycle, including on Alexander Albon and Pierre Gasly.
He lost out to Perez again, and opted to pit for a second time on lap 41 with degradation higher than expected.
As the cycle shook out, and others took penalties, George worked his way up into eighth, and held that position to the chequered flag. Post-race, this became seventh as further violations were accounted for and penalised accordingly.
George Russell, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One® Team driver:
It was really challenging today, and our pace was not as we expected. After yesterday, I was hoping for a little bit more from the Grand Prix. I am sure we will go away and get to the bottom of our performance here. We have the same car that we had in Barcelona where we were flying so we need to understand what went wrong on our side. The car certainly doesn’t feel how we want it to at the moment. It’s moving around a lot, and it felt a little bit worse this weekend than at other circuits; the pace was substantially worse though, so we need to get to the bottom of that.
Our performance is clearly circuit dependent now. We were nowhere here but good in Montreal and Barcelona. That bodes well for Silverstone as that is a circuit more similar to Barcelona than Austria, so we’re excited for next weekend’s British Grand Prix. We will be aiming to come back stronger.