The Williams driver was the star of qualifying and provisionally looked to be on course to claim a stunning maiden pole position, only for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to deny him late on in a dramatic delayed Q3 session.

Russell missed out on pole by just three-tenths but managed to outqualify Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes by 0.013s to hand Williams its first front-row start in F1 since Monza 2017.

“I don't know what to say to be honest,” Russell said after qualifying.

“I thought we had done a good job to get out of Q1 after how we got on yesterday and now we're standing here on the front row.

“I think the guys did an amazing job today. We were on the track always at the right time. The car was feeling great, I had so much confidence so onto tomorrow now.”

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The Briton felt he had “nothing to lose” in the session given the changing conditions and the fact he had only made it into Q3 on two previous occasions this year.

“I was in a fortunate position of there's nothing to lose,” Russell explained.

“We were in Q3 which is not the norm for us, and we just had to go for it. We saved the full maximum engine mode for the last lap, and we just thought, you know what, let's go for it and I'm buzzing, absolutely buzzing.

“But obviously tomorrow is the important one and I've got to go out there and score some more points.”

Asked if he will challenge Verstappen for the lead if the opportunity presents itself, Russell replied: “That is the plan, if it is there for the taking, we will go for it. So yeah, mega.”