George Russell: F1 2019 not a write-off for Williams

George Russell has insisted that the 2019 Formula 1 season is not a write-off for Williams, believing it still has the potential to compete with midfield rivals.

Williams has spent much of the campaign marooned at the rear of the field, adrift of the midfield group, with Russell and team-mate Robert Kubica frequently at the very back of the pack.

Williams has not remotely threatened for points this year while neither driver has yet to complete a race lap inside the top 10 positions.

But Russell remains adamant that it can still propel itself into contention before the end of the year.

“If you look at Barcelona we were four-tenths off,” said Russell on his qualifying pace.

“And Barcelona is the first real race of the season in my opinion.

“Australia is a street circuit. Bahrain is a specific circuit at night. China freezing cold. Baku is Baku and we knew it wouldn’t suit our car as it’s slow on the straights.

“But Barcelona was probably the first true test and we were four-tenths off the next car, considering all the issues we’ve got, and the fact we crashed it in FP3 – the guys got the car ready in an hour and a half – we didn’t bring any big upgrades to the race such as the other teams.

“It’s far from a write-off and if we do the job properly we’ve got the potential not only to close the gap but hopefully fight some other people.”

Russell has spent the majority of his career fighting for victories and championships but instead has found himself lapped at grands prix this year.

“This year has been my first year looking in my mirrors for faster cars and it’s a slightly different challenge, and it is a challenge,” he said.

“We get analysis after [the race] of all the drivers from Renault down as they get lapped as well.

“If you get it right or get it wrong you can win or lose a lot of lap time. 

“And on top of that at tracks such as Baku and Bahrain if you back off you lose all the tyre temperature.

“So we’re fighting to do the best job possible to let the guys go efficiently and also keep the temperatures in the tyres and that’s a challenge in itself.”