George Russell says he had “dearly missed” winning after claiming his maiden victory in Formula 1’s Virtual Spanish Grand Prix.

Russell, who was unable to score a point for Williams during a tough rookie season in 2019, converted pole position into his first win in the championship’s official Esports series on Sunday evening.

The Virtual GP series is acting as a replacement for real-world grands prix which have been put on hold due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Russell enjoyed his first taste of victory since the Abu Dhabi feature race at the end of his title-winning Formula 2 campaign in 2018.

“I am feeling ecstatic. I’m not used to this winning thing,” Russell said. “I’ve not done it for a long, long time so I dearly missed it.”

The triumph was not plain-sailing for the Briton, however, after a slow start saw him drop down the order to sixth early on.

Russell then picked up a three-second time penalty for corner cutting in his pursuit of Charles Leclerc during the closing stages, before the Ferrari driver also fell foul of the track limits regulations.

Russell overtook Leclerc on-track - who received his respective penalty on the penultimate lap - and went on to seal the win for the struggling Williams outfit which has not won in the real world since Pastor Maldonado’s victory at the same circuit in 2012.

“When I got past Charles and I knew I had that three second penalty I was pretty furious,” Russell explained.

“But when that radio message came in at the end and I heard he had a three second penalty I was almost wetting my pants.

"I was angry and disappointed [at the penalty], I knew I had the pace around this track and I didn’t make the best start.

“Charles did a good move around the outside and I could have been much more aggressive but I thought ‘I’ll try and come back later in the race’ and I was back down in P5 and I was like ‘not again, I’m going to have bloody Charles taking all the glory once again’ so I was pleased when I came back through.

“To be fair to Charles I think he had some issues in the middle of the race and lost a lot of time, so that helped me out and we had a good little battle at some points.”

 

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