George Russell believes Alfa Romeo and Haas are now within “striking distance” for Williams after battling both teams during Formula 1’s Spanish Grand Prix.
The Briton has been able to mix it up with Alfa Romeo and Haas cars in both qualifying and on race-day throughout the opening six rounds of the 2020 season, and once again found himself in the fight in Barcelona last weekend.
Russell ultimately finished 17th ahead of Williams teammate Nicholas Latifi and Romain Grosjean, but feels the Grove-based outfit has made progress in its bid to climb up the midfield pecking order.
"We don’t want to be here fighting for the latter positions, but the fact that we are on par with the Haas and the Alfas they probably still just have the legs on us but they are really within striking distance,” Russell said.
“It adds that extra motivation for me as a driver, the team, to really get everything out of it and it’s going to keep allowing everybody to push further to try and get us back into the B Class category.
"At the moment we’re in the C Class along with Haas and Alfa, we still need to keep pushing to get into the B Class, but obviously the Mercedes and Red Bull are just in a league of their own.”
And Russell described the Spanish Grand Prix, in which he engaged in wheel-to-wheel battles with Kimi Raikkonen and Grosjean, as one of the most satisfying races of his F1 career so far.
“I think it’s probably been one of the most satisfying races I have completed even though the end result just seems normal,” he explained.
"We could have had a better end result in terms of time doing a different strategy, but I was glad we sort of rolled the dice, managed to overtake Romain on track twice, had a really good battle with Kimi - which you know is something that I’ve not really had, wheel-to-wheel racing - made a pretty decent start again which has not been one of my strong points.
“So on paper it looks like a pretty standard race for us but considering our outright pace this weekend was much worse than the last four races I think there were a lot positives to take from that from my personal side and the experienced gained.
“Ultimately it is very, very difficult as a driver when you’re constantly on the defensive. When you are in a car that isn’t as fast as the others it is very tricky to race against them but I really enjoyed it.
“That sense of racing again, the pressure of a guy behind you that is trying to overtake, drivers in front of you that I was trying to attack, that was really fun. It wasn’t a typical, normal race hacking around in P19.”