George Russell is unsure Williams will be as competitive at Silverstone as it was in Hungary as the team continues its bid to overcome its race-trim struggles in the 2020 Formula 1 season. 

Williams appears to have joined the midfield fight this year as it bounces back from its worst F1 season in 2019. Russell has starred in qualifying with back-to-back Q2 appearances in Austria and Hungary, only to drop down the order on race day.

Both Russell and teammate Nicholas Latifi are set to be bolstered by a “powerful” upgrade at this weekend’s British Grand Prix and another outing in Q2 is the clear target, though Russell remains wary about Williams’ Sunday prospects. 

Asked if he is looking forward to back-to-back races at Silverstone, Russell replied: “In all honest I’m not overly sure. 

“I think on paper Hungary is going to be the circuit that suits us most and our car characteristics most. I think that was proven in qualifying. 

“I think our performance in Austria qualifying round one was probably the true pace of the car in a dry condition, obviously race two was wet and things were all mixed up.

“So, ultimately, I think our goal and our realistic competitors are the Alfas and the Haas and fighting to get into Q2 following on from these three events.” 

Russell stressed the importance of Williams getting on top of its “strange” pace drop on Sundays compared to its qualifying performance, having dramatically fallen away in each of the opening three races so far this season. 

“Our race pace is really poor for whatever reason relative to our qualifying pace,” he explained. “It’s something that was not the case last year and something that we need to get on top of.

“It’s a bit strange at the moment, we’ve had three races now, two very good qualifying [sessions], one good qualifying and three very poor races - that had not been the case last year. 

“Last year our race pace was better than our qualifying pace. Our car is very sensitive to following others and becomes very difficult to control when following others and obviously on a Saturday you’re not following others.

“So, that’s the only understanding we think we can take away from this.”

Russell will not be greeted by his home fans at this year’s pair of races at Silverstone due to the opening rounds being held under ‘closed event’ conditions which feature strict COVID-19 protocols. 

“I’m absolutely looking forward to having two home races,” Russell said. 

“I will be staying at home in between the events, which will be nice. But having no fans is a bit sad for us Brits because especially for me last year that was one of the real highlights of my season. 

"Being at Silverstone, having the support of the Brits there, as a driver that gives you a real buzz. 

“But nevertheless once the helmet’s on all I will be giving it my all regardless and just will be looking forward to driving Silverstone as it’s one of the all-time greats.”

 

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