George Russell earned a rare opportunity for the weekend in Bahrain, and it is fair to say that he has done a splendid job so far. Prior to the qualifying session, the chances of Russell taking the pole were quite high. However, in the end, he missed out on the same by less than 0.05 seconds.
Well, apparently, the first turn has been an obstruction for Russell throughout the weekend. Hence, he sounded convinced he had room for improvement and reckoned he could have gone faster if not for the tricky turn 1.
During the post-qualifying press conference, Russell spoke about his final run in Q3 that handed him the front row for Sunday’s race.
“It was alright,” he said. “I’ve been really struggling at Turn 1 all weekend. Oddly, last week, that was my strongest corners, and we were really strong there.
“This weekend I’ve been really weak compared to Valtteri. He’s been taking loads of lap time out of me. That was my weak point. Just that Turn 1 and 2 were really letting me down.”
Despite losing out to Bottas, Russell would still be happy with his overall qualifying performance. The fact that the one-off Mercedes driver managed to fend off Max Verstappen, who looked in good shape throughout the weekend, is definitely an applaudable feat.
George Russell “pleased” with the second place despite missing out on pole by fine margin
Russell lost a huge chunk of time in the first sector to his teammate, Bottas. However, the Briton took control of the second and the third sector and regained the lost time.
Hence, Russell mentioned that he would be frustrated when he takes a look at the data and notices the fact that Bottas was faster through the first sector.
“I’m sure I’m going to look on the data and Valtteri is going to be much quicker than me through there again and it’s going to frustrate me. But, nevertheless, like I said, first qualifying with Mercedes, 20 milliseconds behind pole. Got to be pretty pleased,” Russell said.
The race start will be extremely crucial for Russell, as he will start from the dirty side of the track. Consequently, he could face a threat from Verstappen going into turn 1, as the Dutchman will get a sweet slipstream from Bottas.
Hence, Russell will need to get away perfectly in order to at least keep his position. Overall, in general, the race is looking more and more likely to be filled with overtaking maneuvers and smart strategies.
Will the Sakhir Grand Prix offer some action for the fans? Well, we’re just hours away from knowing the answer.