George Russell, Williams, Circuit of the Americas, 2021

While the pressure’s off I can “push myself” more – Russell

2021 United States Grand Prix

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George Russell says Williams’ championship position allows him to experiment with his approach and take more risks in the final races of 2021.

While his starts have been a weakness on some occasions, Russell made a good getaway in the United States Grand Prix, gaining six places. With the team enjoying a points buffer over closest rivals Alfa Romeo and Haas, and Russell joining champions Mercedes next year, he says he can afford to take a more aggressive approach to his driving.

“I think the pressure’s been lifted off my shoulders for a while now for these first laps,” he said. “I’m more confident to really attack it and go for it. P20 to P14 was a strong start for me today.

“In this position now where we are in the championship we’ve got this small buffer that’s allowing me to go out there and really push the limits and I’m quite enjoying it, to be honest.”

Russell admitted this has led to him committing a few more errors than usual. “I’m not a driver who usually makes a huge amount of mistakes but I’ve wanted to push myself.

“That’s why we saw an off in FP3, we saw a little off in qualifying in Zandvoort. I’m just trying to really push the limit just to see if there is more in there in these last few races.”

Williams failed to add to their points tally in Austin. Russell said they hadn’t managed to get the best out of the car at the track.

“Just globally this weekend I struggled for pace,” he said. “It’s a very strange circuit.

“I felt there wasn’t much adhesive grip from from the Tarmac and I think all the drivers were sliding around a lot and we just didn’t optimise that made the most of it. I started last, made a good start, was 14th and just stayed there. Nothing gained, nothing lost. And obviously our rivals in Alfa didn’t score points.”

The track’s characteristics meant the team needed more downforce to be competitive, according to Russell. “I think it’s getting on top of the tyre management,” he said. “The downforce was really, really key this weekend.

“It was one of those races where the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. We know where we are with downforce, we’re not up there with the top guys. So I think that’s why we struggled.”

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2021 United States Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
RJ O'Connell
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5 comments on “While the pressure’s off I can “push myself” more – Russell”

  1. From the moment he signed the Mercedes contract he seems to ge lost. No Excitement for Q3 only fractionally better then lat.
    Strange.

    1. Yeah interesting that, but I guess the nerves getting to him slightly (+ Latifi stepping up). In a way it’s double-speak, as it’s probably the pressure getting to him that prevents him from pushing as before.

      It was also revealing that he was told he was going to a Merceds driver right before Spa, and with a Mercedes leading a rainy qualifying, he went for a banzai lap that would either jump him way up the grid, or make him go off and throw a useful safety car or red flag at a strategic time..

  2. He must be talking about pressure to kept the car in one piece, budget constraint related, right? I can’t see any other reason.

  3. uh oh. he should’ve said “when the pressure is off I feel like i’m not at my best potential”.

  4. The interesting part is not one of the british media confronted him with these remarks..
    Not one question… well….

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