George Russell says his Williams was the best its ever felt during the Spanish GP – a claim which teammate Latifi quietly disagrees with.
Russell fell to 14th in the closing stages of the Spanish GP, but ran higher up for much of the F1 grand prix as he reaped the benefits of a calm day – conditions for which the 2021 Williams was specifically designed.
Russell says the car felt “joyous”, for the first time in the 2021 F1 season. “We did a really good job with the car,” he said to media including FormulaRapida.net. “The car felt the best it’s ever felt, to be honest, in a race, probably the best I can ever remember.
“That just makes it so joyous to drive compared to normal. Most of which I put down to just a calm day. We know the beast we have,” the Brit said. Russell, 23, goes on to explain that low wind and a consistent direction created perfect conditions for consistency with his FW43B.
“It [the wind] was just a calm and consistent day. The wind was less than 10 kilometres an hour with minimal gusts, which just made the car consistent to drive. And when it’s consistent, as a driver, you can drive around it. I think that’s something Nicholas and I have really struggled with, especially in Portimao, that was really exposed.
“It was just incredibly inconsistent. As a driver you lose all the confidence, then it has a negative effect on the tyres and then you just have this downward spiral. Whereas in days like Spain when the car’s nice and consistent, as a driver can really push it to its limit, you can manage the car as you wish, manage the tyres as you wish and really optimise everything,” Russell explained.
The 23-year-old theorised that, while others may have also enjoyed the calm weather, Williams were the greatest beneficiaries of this. Teammate Latifi was somewhat less enthusiastic, but agreed that his car did feel at its best on Sunday.
“I wouldn’t go that far to be honest [like Russell did],” said Latifi. “Of all the sessions so far this weekend, [the race] was definitely the best feeling. From that point of view, that’s obviously good because it’s the session that matters. But yeah, I was happier – still not happy.
“There’s been a lot of issues and struggle in Spain, which I still I am getting top of. I was anticipating a much worse race to be honest. So, I was pleasantly surprised to be able to to enjoy it more, feel more control of the car, feel more like I am driving the car rather than the car driving me.
“From the races that I have actually done, I would agree with that [Russell’s sayings] because Bahrain was pretty bad, Portimao was even worse and I didn’t do Imola. From that side of things, I would say, yes, this was better. But it comes out to an earlier point, that there was no wind in the race, which was higher in the practice session, so it was the best I felt in the car in a race, but I am still a bit far,” summed up Latifi.
Here’s how F1 Spanish GP panned out