‘Sore and bruised’ Russell hoping for better luck in Styrian GP as Mercedes probe engine issue
George Russell says he’s “sore and bruised” after getting back into a Formula 1 car on the weekend for the first time since February, but is hoping his team and engine suppliers Mercedes can solve the issue that cost him a race finish and potential points in time for the Styrian Grand Prix this Sunday.
Russell had just missed out on a first appearance in Q2 by 0.073s on Saturday, and with a number of cars retiring in the early part of the race the chance of points was increasing. Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo, Lance Stroll and Kevin Magnussen had all retired by the time Russell slowed and stopped on the inside of Turn 4, with the Willliams Head of Vehicle Performance Dave Robson going on to say that Mercedes want to work out what happened.
“The race was busy with a high attrition rate, which sadly included the retirement of George due to concerns with the fuel pressure,” Robson said. “Further investigation is ongoing and the Power Unit will return to Brixworth for some system tests to determine the root cause of this issue. It was a frustrating end to the weekend for George who until then was having a strong weekend.”
The Williams issue was one of two retirements from the six Mercedes-powered cars on Sunday, with Racing Point having to tell Stroll to return to the garage and drop out of the race after he suffered a loss of power.
Russell himself was limited to the role of spectator for a chaotic finish – Tweeting: “I’ve gotta say, I really enjoyed those last 15 laps, just a shame we weren’t there!” – but while there have been encouraging signs from Williams after a tough 2019, the Briton says there is more potential performance he wants the team to unlock for the next race at the Red Bull Ring this coming weekend.
“Firstly we didn’t have a huge amount of pace - or as much pace as we were hoping for - but everybody was falling off in front of us, there was only 11 cars left on the track so it was a bit of a shame but what can you do? We had a fuel pressure loss. I don’t really know the ins and outs, I just turned the car off."
Williams will be back at the Red Bull Ring again this weekend for the second of two back-to-back races being held at the Austrian track – and Russell is hoping for better things second time around.
"I think were in a good position coming back here next week. We can try some things, try and rectify the issues, and take a review after next week."
He added that he was glad to be be back racing – even if physically it was taxing after a four months out of the car.
"Feels great to get behind the wheel after such a long break, almost surreal to get back out there," he said. "My body had forgotten a little bit what those speeds felt like. I’m pretty sore and bruised after the weekend, but I’m sure come next week I’ll be back used to it."
Russell will only have two practice sessions to make use of before the next race in Austria, with Williams reserve driver Jack Aitken taking over his car to make his FP1 debut on Friday.