George Russell claims that his Williams Formula One team’s comfortable eighth-place finish in the world championship has allowed him to push himself to new limits in recent races.
Russell claimed that he would no longer be afraid of taking risks and potentially losing scoring opportunities after his second place in the Belgian GP put Williams comfortably ahead of Alfa Romeo in the points table.
He’s since admitted that the cushion gave him the confidence to do new things, particularly on the first laps.
He moved from last place on the grid to 14th place at the start in Austin last weekend.
“I think the pressure has been sort of lifted off my shoulders for a while now for these first laps,” he said. “And I have more confidence to really attack it and go for it. And P20 to P14 was a strong start for me.
“And I think, in this position now, where we are in the championship, we’ve got this small buffer it’s allowing me to go out there and really push the limits.
“I’m quite enjoying it to be honest. I’m not a driver who usually makes huge amount of mistakes. But I’ve wanted to push myself out there, and we saw an off in FP3, we saw a little off in qualifying in Zandvoort.
“And I’m just trying to really push the limit just to see if there is more in there in these last few races. But I think I’ve been sort of reaffirming my strategy of you don’t need to be driving 110% to get the most out of the car, sometimes you only go slower.”
He also stated that his confirmation at Mercedes for 2022 had strengthened his position.
“Just less pressure, I think the fact that we are in a position of relative comfort in the constructors’ championship, and also on a personal level everything was confirmed for next year. I’m in a very stable position personally, and just able to go out there and try new things and not afraid to make some mistakes.
“It’s a similar position to one I found myself in 2019 when I can go out there and just try new things and keep trying to build that toolbox to improve, and like I said, being in a position where I’m not scared to make mistakes.”
Russell admitted that the venue did not suit the car despite his strong start in the US GP, finishing 14th by the flag.
“Just this weekend we struggled for pace. It’s a very strange circuit I felt, there wasn’t much adhesive grip from from the tarmac, and I think all the drivers were sliding around a lot, and we just didn’t optimise that and make the most of it,” he said.
“Started last, I made a good start up to 14th, and just stayed there, nothing gained, nothing lost. And obviously our rivals Alfa didn’t score points.
“I think the downforce was really, really key this weekend. One of those races where the rich got richer and the poor got poorer, and I think we know where we are with downforce, we’re not up there with the top guys.”
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