George Russell has admitted missing out on a maiden Formula 1 points finish last time out at Mugello was the 'toughest' mental challenge he's faced in his racing career.

Russell was running comfortably in ninth place at the Tuscan Grand Prix before the second red flag period caused by Racing Point’s Lance Stroll’s heavy shunt.

The Williams driver dropped from ninth to 11th after a slow getaway on the third and final standing start.

Russell has yet to score points in F1 and admits the events of Tuscany were tough to take.

“I’d say probably mentally, [Mugello was] the toughest race I’ve ever come away from, probably in the last five years,” Russell said. “Incredibly gutting for all of us, myself and the team, everybody. We deserved that.

“Obviously very strange circumstances how we lost out on that opportunity, but in all honesty we’re looking forward, that’s behind us now. Myself and the team have greater aspirations than scoring a point here and there. We’re on the up as a team and we want to be fighting in those positions more often. Like I said, gutting, but we’re looking forward, not behind us.”

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel took the final point off Russell at Mugello, with the German heaping praise on the young Brit after the race, telling TV reporters: "I feel a bit sorry for him because he really fought his way up to the points and didn’t get the result that he deserved."

Reflecting on Vettel’s comments, Russell said: “I think it’s nice that people recognise the job you’re doing. Even for the team, everybody recognised the job we on the racetrack had done from the mechanics, the engineers, the strategists – it was a Sunday very well executed. " 

While the result wasn't what he wanted, Russell was pleased with the level of performance Williams showed in the race as he was able to maintain the gap to Vettel and Charles Leclerc before the second red flag period. 

“That last restart, losing all the positions off the line, literally on that launch in the first two seconds, was just horrible,” Russell added. “Like I say, it was probably the best race I’d ever driven, it was probably the best the car had ever felt overall in my Formula 1 career with Williams on a Sunday.

"The fact we were there fighting on pace with the Ferraris, I know they’re having a tough year, but still they were seconds ahead of us last year.”

 

 

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