Russell made his only pit stop of the afternoon under the early Safety Car, which was caused by Yuki Tsunoda grinding to a halt. 

The early stop allowed Russell to run inside the points-paying positions for much of the race behind Alpine's Fernando Alonso, before dropping to 14th as his tyres degraded and the two-stoppers got past.

Reflecting on the race in Barcelona, Russell backed the gamble to stop under the Safety Car and praised the team for how good the FW43B was performing.

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“I mean it’s incredibly tricky, I think we did a really great job pitting under the safety car at the beginning, effectively almost doing a one-stop,” Russell said. “For sure, if I had just managed to clear Alonso then who knows but I think having Alonso ahead of me helped keep those faster cars behind because I had the DRS, they have half a second of car pace and probably one second tyre pace. 

“It would have been an incredible task. But I’m really pleased that we rolled the dice and found ourselves in the position. It’s fine margins, who knows what would’ve happened had I just managed to clear him. 

“It’s very difficult but all in all I think we did a really good job. The car today felt the best it has ever felt, to be honest, in a race probably the best I can ever remember. That just makes it so joyous to drive compared to normal, most of which I put down to a calm day.”

The Williams car is known for having a peaky aerodynamic concept, meaning it can produce good downforce levels but suffer if conditions are extremely windy.

Unlike in Bahrain and Portimao, wind levels in Barcelona were a lot calmer, and Russell suspects this is why he delivered a strong performance on Sunday.

“I think because it was a car with a consistent day today, the wind was less than 10 km/h, there was minimal gusts which just made the car consistent to drive. When it’s consistent, as a driver you can drive around it and I think that’s something that Nicholas and I struggled with, especially at Portimao, that was really exposed and it was incredibly inconsistent. 

“As a driver, you lose all the confidence, then it has a negative effect on the tyres and then you’re just in this downward spiral. Whereas on days like today, the car is nice and consistent. As a driver you can really push it to its limit, you can manage the car as you wish, manage the tyres as you wish and really optimise everything. 

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure a lot of people felt their car felt better today. But I think we take a bigger jump in both directions when these conditions are favourable or not.”