Russell finished the second race at the Red Bull Ring in 11th, losing out to Fernando Alonso in the closing laps.

The Mercedes-linked driver was involved in a titanic battle with Alonso, holding him off until four laps to go. 

Russell had started the race from eighth but dropped to 12th after the opening lap. 

He says being forced to avoid AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda on Lap 1 was the reason he fell down the order.

“It was pretty worrying at the start; I felt like we had a bit of a problem,” Russell said. We still need to investigate. We’ve got a little idea where that came from and then made a good start but unfortunately [Yuki] Tsunoda jolted in front of me – I think he had a big lockup and had to avoid a big incident which really compromised me and made me lose two or three positions. 

“But nevertheless, that did not change the race result.”

Russell admitted Alonso getting past was inevitable given Alpine’s superior performance across the Austrian GP weekend. 

“We did a good strategy, [I] drove my heart out, but if you could choose to have any driver behind you in a situation like that, you wouldn’t choose Fernando, and he had the pace for the top five yesterday,” Russell added.

“So keeping a guy like Fernando, who had the pace for the top five behind, was nigh-on impossible but I definitely gave it a shot and yes: so close yet so far.”

During his time with Williams, Russell has often spent races running around by himself at the back of the grid.

He believes his fight with Alonso was ‘one of his first real battles’ in F1.

“Positives: Q3. Positives: P11, so close to the top 10, and personally that’s probably one of my first real battles on track, and it felt like I held my own and didn’t make any silly mistakes,”  he explained. “I’ve been in F1 three years now but one of those years I was driving around completely on my own. Last year was a little bit of the same, so you know, that was pretty nice to have a battle like that and especially with a guy like Fernando.”