Williams’ spectacular follow tempo indicated they may attain Q3 at Imola, however somewhat than a shock prime end result, George Russell admitted he had a unique type of “Maldonado second”.
Whereas Russell’s in-form workforce mate Nicholas Latifi took twelfth in Q1, Russell wanted a late push to make the reduce. He made it, although solely narrowly, after a quick off-track tour whereas altering settings on his steering wheel previous his closing lap.
“I solely crossed the flag by two seconds [to set that lap], I consider,” stated Russell. “I had Danny [Ricciardo] proper behind me. He was planning to overhaul me with the DRS, and as a result of straight line pace I might keep forward of him, very relieved.”
That steering wheel distraction nearly value him the possibility to start his closing lap. He admitted there was a strategic cause for the late change associated to his Mercedes energy unit.
“It’s no secret that Mercedes are struggling a bit with the battery deployment, and each single metre offers you a metre on the finish of a lap,” he defined.
“So I needed to enter that mode as late as doable, as in midway by means of the nook earlier than I picked up the facility. Tyres had been a bit chilly, I wasn’t totally concentrating and it contributed to a Pastor Maldonado second.”
Former Williams driver Maldonado scored the workforce’s most up-to-date victory in 2012 however earned a fame for weird incidents. Throughout follow for the Chinese language Grand Prix in 2014 he additionally drove off the observe whereas adjusting a setting on his steering wheel.
Russell’s weekend improved as soon as he reached Q2. Latifi had been the quicker Williams driver all through Friday follow and Russell predicted his workforce mate had an opportunity to earn Williams’ first Q3 appearance because the 2018 Italian Grand Prix. Ultimately neither of them did, however Russell got here out on prime, lacking the reduce for Q3 by 0.061 seconds.
“Nicholas once more, was two instances forward of me,” stated Russell. “I assumed this might be the day, I assumed this might be the chance that the time Williams would get in Q3 and it will be with Nicholas, to be trustworthy.
“So I needed to give it every part I had, and fortuitously it went properly in Q2.”
Russell certified twelfth, matching his finest lead to a Williams automobile ultimately 12 months’s Styrian and Hungarian grands prix.