West Norfolk driver secures best result of F1 career at chaotic Belgian GP
West Norfolk racer George Russell took second place in his Williams at a chaotic Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday – the best result in his Formula One career.
Only a couple of laps were possible because of torrential rain and these were behind the safety car, which meant Russell was sandwiched between title rivals Max Verstappen and reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton and so the result was declared from the grid order with Verstappen (Red Bull) the winner ahead of Russell and Hamilton (Mercedes).
But it was Russell’s brilliant qualifying drive in the wet on Saturday that was the highlight of the weekend on the demanding Spa-Francorchamps track and which is now being rated as one of the greatest ever in F1.
After climbing on to the podium to receive his trophy, the 23-year-old Russell said: Russell, 23, said: "We don't often get rewarded for great qualifying, but we absolutely did today.
"It was a shame we did not get the race under way but, from my side, and the team's side it's an amazing result.
"The whole team deserve it because there has been so much hard work going into work over the last few years and there has been nothing to show for it, but we absolutely nailed it yesterday."
Reporting on the qualifying session the BBC reported: “The laps by Max Verstappen (1:59.765) and Lewis Hamilton (2:00.099) were impressive but they were both put in the shade by Russell (2:00.086) who underlined yet again why he is regarded as one of the superstars of the future and a hot tip to replace Valtteri Bottas alongside Hamilton at Mercedes next year.
“It was a remarkable performance from Russell, who missed out on pole by 0.321 seconds.”
Russell himself said on Saturday: "I was in the fortunate position that I had nothing to lose. We just had to go for it. We saved the full maximum engine mode for the last lap, but (I'm) buzzing, absolutely buzzing. But tomorrow is the important one.
"The car was really on it in these wet conditions and there is so much that has to go right – all the little details to give the driver confidence.
"You have to extract the most. I could put it all on the table and absolutely go for it. I was expecting ninth, eighth or seventh. Max just pipped me. We are in a great position but (get) no points for qualifying."
Hamilton had praise for Russell’s qualifying performance: "Great job by George. That's fantastic."
During Sunday’s delays because of the storm, Russell had this Tweet to his fans: “To all the fans getting soaked out here at Spa right now, sorry to keep you waiting and thanks for braving the weather.
"We know it’s frustrating for you all, but safety has to come first. Fingers crossed we can get a result today one way or another.”