Williams’ George Russell says the slide back from his P12 start at the Styrian Grand Prix came as a surprise, as he had hoped to have better pace in race trim.
Able to outperform his car in Saturday’s wet qualifying, Russell started the race from 12th, but saw him slide down to 16th at the flag, the penultimate finisher ahead of teammate Nicholas Latifi.
And while Russell did himself no favours with a lap 4 off into the gravel while fighting with Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, the Briton suggests his error had little to do with the final outcome.
“We probably would have ended up in the same position had I not gone off,” he told reporters afterwards. “I completely hold my hands up for that, it wasn’t good enough from my side but nevertheless it was a very difficult race from then on in with a huge lack of pace in comparison to our qualifying speed.
“We approached the weekend thinking we would struggle a bit more in qualifying and then have a better race pace in comparison, that’s what we learned in testing, it’s actually also what we learned on Friday of Austria round one.
“Yet both races and both qualifyings have been the complete opposite. We’ve had strong pace in qualifying and we’ve really struggled in all honesty in the race.”
According to Russell, the FW43 is particularly “sensitive from an aero perspective” when closely following other cars, which he hopes can be ironed-out in the coming weeks.
“We’re still learning the car obviously as are other teams and I hope that the aero department can go away and understand the issues and make some small changes just to give us a bit more of a stable platform when following other cars.”