George Russell says Williams being “within striking distance” of its backmarker rivals provides extra motivation to close the gap to the “B class” in Formula 1.
Williams is the only team yet to score a point this season but has out-qualified rivals Alfa Romeo and Haas on merit, and has battled its opponents in race trim.
Alfa Romeo has scored only two points, Haas just one, with a substantial gap to seventh-placed AlphaTauri, on 16 points.
Russell finished the Spanish Grand Prix – which did not have any interruptions – within 10 seconds of the battling Kevin Magnussen and Antonio Giovinazzi, and ahead of Romain Grosjean.
“I think it adds motivation for all of us,” said Russell.
“We don’t want to be here fighting for the latter positions, but the fact that we are on par with the Haas and the Alfas; they probably still just have the legs on us but they are really within striking distance.
“It adds that extra motivation for me as a driver, the team, to really get everything out of it and it’s going to keep allowing everybody to push further to try and get us back into the B Class category.
“At the moment we’re in the C Class along with Haas and Alfa, we still need to keep pushing to get into the B Class, but obviously the Mercedes and Red Bull are just in a league of their own at the moment.”
On his performance at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Russell said: “I think it’s probably been one of the most satisfying races I have completed even though the end result just seems normal.
“We could have had a better end result in terms of time doing a different strategy, but I was glad we sort of rolled the dice.
“I managed to overtake Romain on track twice, had a really good battle with Kimi [Raikkonen] – which you know is something that I’ve not really had, wheel-to-wheel racing – and made a pretty decent start again, which has not been one of my strong points.
“So on paper it looks like a pretty standard race for us but considering our outright pace this weekend was much worse than the last four races I think there were a lot positives to take from that from my personal side and the experienced gained.”