George Russell heads to Imola for this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix with one aim; to make amends for what he described as “the biggest mistake” of his Formula 1 career.
The Williams driver looked set to score his first championship point – and Williams’ first point of the season – but crashed out of the race from tenth place whilst warming his tyres behind the Safety Car.
At the time Russell was heartbroken, although he would later go on to score his first points at the Sakhir Grand Prix, albeit driving for Mercedes as he stood in for a COVID-19 positive Lewis Hamilton.
Heading back to Imola for the first time since that crash, Russell says he’s setting out to “rectify” that mistake.
“I made what is probably the biggest mistake of my career at Imola in 2020 when crashing under the safety car,” he admitted.
“It’s a track where, if you make a mistake, you’re out. But that’s what racing should be about! I’ll look to try and rectify my mistake from last year with a good result this weekend.”
Speaking on Thursday ahead of the race, Russell said he believes he’s a stronger driver for experiencing such a tough moment.
“I think you need to recognise these moments, these moments make you stronger as a person, as a driver.
“I cycled the track this morning and I didn’t get to that corner and look the other way. I think you have to face these disappointments in your career head on and recognise it, which I’ve done since that mistake.
“Back here this weekend, it probably won’t even cross my mind once. If the same situation arises in the race again, I’ll still be pushing absolutely flat out. The consequences of what happened last year won’t be on my mind. Full beans ahead.”
Williams heads to Imola with some minor updates to its FW43B aimed at reliability and performance, according to Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance.
“There will be a few changes to the car this weekend mainly aimed at resolving the issue that caused us to retire Nicholas’s car in Bahrain,” added Robson.
“We also have some additional test items to try as we look to improve the characteristics of the car and to adapt it to the different challenge of Imola.”