George Russell says he feared a part of his Williams FW43 would fail due to the vibrations being put through the car by worsening tyres at Formula 1’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.
Williams was embroiled in the backmarker battle with Alfa Romeo and Haas throughout the weekend at Silverstone, with Russell qualifying 15th on the grid.
Williams made an early stop, switching from Mediums to Hards on lap 8 of 52, before taking on more Hards on lap 24.
But Russell was forced into a third stop on lap 39 and eventually came home 18th.
“It was very, very tricky, initially we were hoping to do a one-stop [strategy] and ended up doing a three-stop,” he said.
“That third and final stop was unintended due to massive rear tyre wear from blistering.
“It was that severe I thought if the tyre wasn’t going to go something on the car would. We had to pit for the third stop. Overall a very difficult day dominated by tyres.”
Russell felt that Williams had inherently faster pace than its nearest rivals.
“We were a little bit unfortunate that my whole race we were stuck behind cars,” he said.
“We had stronger pace than the Haas and Alfas, and from lap one I was stuck behind [Romain] Grosjean, then we pitted early, and I was stuck behind [Antonio] Giovinazzi, then we pitted, and I was stuck behind Kimi [Raikkonen].
“In these hot conditions on the soft compounds of tyres, constantly trying to push to overtake but also manage the tyre maybe we needed a bit more discipline and back off to preserve the tyres for later in the race.
Russell’s Williams team-mate Nicholas Latifi also made a precautionary third pit stop just five laps from the finish.
“Initially very small vibrations started on the front, but they were manageable, not losing grip, just trying to keep going,” he said.
“Then all of a sudden on the second stint a small one started on the rear left of the car.
“Maybe four or five laps before we pitted at the end it was taking big steps and all of a sudden to the point where it was becoming very difficult to see so there was a little bit of concern from my side about the safety element of it.
“Obviously we weren’t fighting for points, we could have finished a few positions higher but I think there was no sense to risk anything with the position we were in. It’s just obviously the potential of the car and the results did not align.”