(Motorsport-Total.com) – Turn 2 caused problems for many drivers on the Formula 1 weekend in Sochi. Williams driver George Russell did not spare criticism and described it as “one of the worst corners of the calendar”. He was one of those who had to move into the run-off zone shortly after the start last Sunday.
He only just missed Carlos Sainz (McLaren), who was driving in front of him and who also took the escape route and hit the wall. Looking back, Russell believes he was a little too aggressive on the first round and regrets not following his usual cautious approach.
But the Brit wanted to do it differently this time: “This year and the year before it showed that I often had to struggle with my self-confidence in the first round,” he explains. “Now it was time to say: I have to be more aggressive. And ironically, that’s exactly what fell on my feet.”
“Messing around” in round one
“I got off to a really good start. I didn’t give up, I was next to the McLarens. And I braked very late, I was right behind Gasly. Unfortunately, there were three cars on the inside and someone pushed Norris first, who then pushed me away “, Russell recapitulates his situation at the start.
It was therefore a bigger mess than at some of the other starts this year. Therefore, the Williams pilot speculates that if he had been a little more careful, he would have been “in a much stronger position”. So he already lost some ground in the first corners of the race.
When the safety car deployed after the chaos of the first lap, Williams took the opportunity and pitted Russell to switch to the hard tire – with the intention of possibly letting him drive through to the end. However, this turned out to be a fallacy, he had to stop again later.
Enjoyed fight with Albon and Norris
“It was a risky move,” said Russell of the early pit stop. “I think with all the information we had at that point, it was the right decision. In retrospect, it probably wasn’t. But no offense, you have to decide based on the information you have.”
At least the Brit was able to enjoy his fight with Alexander Albon (Red Bull) and Lando Norris (McLaren), who like him had also stopped early. “It was great to fight with these guys and it was obviously very, very difficult for me to keep a Red Bull and a McLaren at bay,” said Russell.
“But we had really good speed on the straight this weekend, which actually made it a lot easier to keep them behind us. And also I think there was a good dose of respect between the three of us, which made it great”, he enthuses. In the end he had to back off.
Tires abused too hard
After a major brake and problems with overheated tires, he had to make a late stop and finished 18th and last. “It’s difficult when you’re trying to drive against faster cars. You’re trying to do things that the car is probably not quite capable of,” explains the Williams driver.
That “definitely compromised” his race, but he believes that the hard tires would not have lasted to the end either way. Overall, the pace “just wasn’t there”. “We now know why we didn’t have a pace in the race. It’s a relief because I was pretty disappointed and worried right after that.”