The 23-year-old Briton turned in an outstanding performance to record Williams’ first Q3 appearance since the 2018 Italian Grand Prix as he continued his remarkable run of qualifying displays this season.
Russell was able to advance into the final stage of qualifying despite using the medium tyre in Q2, meaning he will start Sunday’s race from ninth on that compound.
“It really felt like a pole position for us to get us into Q3,” Russell said. “It is one one thing [to do it] but to do it on Mediums is massive.
“We were obviously debating prior to the session in which order we do Q2, whether it was soft then medium or vice versa, but we were pretty adamant we didn’t want to go into the top 10 on soft.
“It almost feels like a pole position, and the most pumped up I’ve been since I last won a race probably.”
Having agonisingly missed out on his first points for Williams last weekend in Austria after he was forced to retire with an engine issue, Russell believes his team has a clear strategic advantage over its rivals and feels he is well-positioned to finally break his duck.
“I mean if we did that last stint [in Q2] on softs would have been tricky as we didn’t want to be on that soft,” he explained.
“We’re in an amazing position with the AlphaTauri ahead of us on the soft, Stroll and probably Seb behind us on the soft too.
“We think that tyre is going to be disastrous in the race – seems like they know something we don’t, hopefully they don’t. But we’ve got flexibility with the strategy whereas those guys are pretty locked in.”