Tough Qualifying Friday in Brazil for George
Close laptimes and a rapidly evolving track means George will line up P18 for Saturday’s Sprint.
FP1 in Brazil gave the field their first taste of Interlagos in two years, as teams worked to get to grips with the venue in preparation for the final F1 Sprint of the year.
The opening session proved a sign of things to come, when George was narrowly outperformed by Williams stable-mate Nicolas Latifi by just 0.036s to finish the hour of non-competitive running in P18.
Clouds threatened as qualifying got underway, and George was one of the first to venture onto the track in Q1, putting in two sighter laps before setting a time.
His first run yielded a 1:10.1 with over 11 minutes left on the clock.
With the risk of rain dissipating, it was back out on Soft tyres for his second run, but with the short lap and close lap times, an improvement was needed.
George improved to a 1:09.953 on the second run to move up to P15 briefly, but as the chequered flag was shown on Q1, several drivers were still to complete a lap on the rapidly evolving track.
It wasn’t quite enough, with Kimi Raikkonen and the Canadian duo of Lance Stroll and Latifi just able to overhaul him and push him down to P18, and ultimately 0.355s shy of making into Q2.
George Russell, Williams Racing Driver
Unfortunately, it didn’t quite come together for us today. I couldn’t get the tyres working and it was a little bit gusty out on track, so it wasn’t particularly favourable for us. My lap felt OK but nothing special. It’s only the second time in 19 races that we’ve not progressed into Q2 so we need to put our thinking caps on and understand where we can find some improvements. FP2 will be a better indication of our race pace but I think Sprint Qualifying will still be a tough one for us tomorrow.