George Russell was left frustrated with a 12th-place finish in the French Grand Prix because a strong Williams performance came in a race that featured no retirements.
Williams had slipped behind Haas in the constructors’ championship in Baku, but Russell ensured it regained that position with a very impressive performance at Paul Ricard. It is the most competitive Williams has been for some time – beating Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari and being close to Carlos Sainz at the finish – but without a single retirement it didn’t yield any points.
“I think it was just a very well managed race with the tires,” Russell said. “It was incredibly difficult to balance between not going too quick and graining the tire and not going too slow and losing the temperature.
“We did a really good job. I was really confident in the car, managing to beat the Alfas, overtaking (Yuki) Tsunoda on track, ahead of an Alpine. We don’t normally do this.
“It’s just so frustrating that every time we have a good race, there’s never any retirements or incidents or anything. This has happened three times now where we’ve finished 12th or something, we’ve had a really strong race. But it’ll come, just really happy with how things panned out.”
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A modest Russell was less keen to talk up his own performance but instead said the whole team got the most out of its opportunities, and at least takes comfort from regaining ninth place from Haas.
“As a team, I think it was very good. I’m not going to say this was my best drive ever, I don’t know how you can categorize it. But as a package, it was a very good job. I felt really confident in the car, we managed to maximize it. All in all pleased, just happy really.
“I actually had this in the back of my mind – if we’re not in the points, we need to focus on getting that P9 back in the championship. We obviously don’t know if Haas will score points this year or not, but it’s about making sure we finish as high as possible. P12, back in P9 in the constructors’, this is very important for the team.”