Styrian Grand Prix 2021 – Qualifying
– George Russell qualified 11th and Nicholas Latifi 16th for the Styrian Grand Prix
– George matched his best qualifying performance of the season, reaching Q2 for an eighth consecutive race. He continued to improve throughout the session, posting a final time of 1:04.671
– Nicholas set his fastest time on his second flying lap of the Q1 session, posting a 1:05.175
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: Following the heavy overnight rain, we were concerned that the track might be in poor condition this morning, but the tyres were working well, and we were pleased with our opening runs. Some traffic issues on the final runs meant that we looked slower than we thought we really were, but this offered some useful learning ahead of qualifying.
The short lap here makes traffic difficult and of course means that the field lap times are heavily compressed. In Q1 Nicholas started very strongly and used his three-run strategy very well. Some traffic on his final effort cost him the crucial time required to qualify for Q2. In contrast, George had a tougher first run as he aimed for multiple laps. However, he held his nerve expertly and delivered an excellent final effort in Q1. Having qualified for Q2, he had two new Soft tyres to use and this enabled him to make more progress with each run. For the final run he had a good track position, which he used very well and finished just short of Q3. However, claiming 11th place on the grid, and with a free choice of start tyre, he is in a strong position for tomorrow.
George Russell: I was pushing to my absolute limits in qualifying and the car really came alive when it mattered, so the lap felt really strong. It’s frustrating when we were so close to Q3, eight thousandths of a second really is nothing, but we’ll have tyre choice in P11 tomorrow so that’s a good place to be. The team is putting a lot of effort into race pace at the moment, so to still get a great result on Saturday is very pleasing. We’re here on merit today; we did a good job and the car is feeling strong. There’s no reason why we can’t keep the others behind us tomorrow, I’m not looking in my mirrors, I’m looking forward, and I want to get inside that top 10.
Nicholas Latifi: Yesterday I wasn’t feeling very confident, but we’ve made a lot of progress coming into today and the car improved quite a bit. It’s frustrating to miss out on Q2 by such a small margin, but my second lap was a very competitive one, so I was happy with that. During my final run I lost some time in the last sector coming up behind traffic; that can block your line of sight going into such high-speed corners, so I got a bit out of shape there. Overall, a frustrating result, but there are a lot of positives to take into the race tomorrow.