Race day retreats 'disappointing' but inevitable, admits Russell

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George Russell admits being unable to sustain his incredible qualifying results on a Sunday is "disappointing" if expected.

The Williams driver has earned the nickname of 'Mr Saturday' having only been outqualified once during his Formula 1 career, that coming against Valtteri Bottas when he stood in for Lewis Hamilton at last year's Sakhir Grand Prix.

In 2021, Russell has made Q2 at every race and even made his first Q3 appearances for Williams in Austria and Britain, but has only finished the race higher than he started on four occasions.

“It’s always a bit disappointing when we go backwards on a Sunday but ultimately it’s because we keep outqualifying the true pace of the car, and how we keep doing that I don’t know,” he said.

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“To battle with Aston Martins, Alfa Romeos, AlphaTauris, even like a Red Bull today [at Silverstone] – it makes it so, so difficult!

“But you know it’s been three top 12s in the last four races, fighting for points in three of those. I guess before these last four we would definitely have taken that.

“We seem for whatever reason to have made a step forward but we are still on paper the ninth quickest team," Russell noted.

"So when you qualify in P8 for example and you’ve got eight faster cars behind you – and substantially faster in race trim – it makes it so tricky.”

Russell's impressive qualifying and solid recent race performances have made him the favourite to join Mercedes next year, replacing Valtteri Bottas, where he'd likely finally be able to challenge for wins and championships.

However, so far during his F1 career at Williams, making Q2 and simply scoring points have often been his highest goals.

"It's something I’ve almost made my peace with," the 23-year-old admitted.

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"It was very clear growing up, from when I was eight years old until I got to Formula 1, the goal was to win.

"A successful weekend was based on if you put it on pole and then won the races or not. Then suddenly in F1, those goals drastically changed.

"It is obviously a bit frustrating not getting the chance to go out there and really fight," he added. "But that’s the same for 16 of the drivers in Formula 1.

"There’s only four drivers on the grid, currently, who on merit can probably win a race. Which is obviously deeply frustrating for everybody else."