The Stunning Detail That Makes George Russell’s Qualifying Lap at Spa Even More Impressive

Published 08/29/2021, 3:30 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Belgian Grand Prix – Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium – August 28, 2021 Williams’ George Russell celebrates after qualifying second Pool via REUTERS/John Thys


During the final part of Saturday’s qualifying session, the rain was bucketing down at Spa Francorchamps. And despite the chaotic conditions, Lewis Hamilton raced to a provisional pole in his first flying lap, and his position did look set at first. But, then arrived the shocking lap from George Russell.

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The drivers were busy prepping up for the final run with the clock ticking down to the final minute of the session. Hamilton hardly improved on his first lap, but alongside his lap time, a Williams was setting purple times through sectors 1 & 2.

It was George Russell! Neither Martin Brundle nor David Croft could hold their excitement, as the Briton crossed the line to secure a provisional pole for the bottom-field outfit. And he almost had it, right up until Max Verstappen clinched it with a stellar lap in the fierce-looking Red Bull.

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Formula One F1 – Belgian Grand Prix – Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium – August 28, 2021 Williams’ George Russell celebrates after qualifying second Pool via REUTERS/John Thys

Nevertheless, it was a stellar performance by Russell, who, along with Williams, utilized the conditions to their absolute advantage.

However, there is something unique about Russell’s lap; there is a factor that proves his lap was absolutely special and distinct against others’ lap times on the board.

The surprise element inside the P2 for George Russell

During the session, looking at Russell’s sector times, the commentators assumed that the Williams driver was on a fresh set of intermediate tires – he wasn’t.

Williams had affirmed that Russell was out of fresh sets and had only one shot in Q3. This is primarily why Russell never set a lap time until the final minutes of Q3. But how impeccable was his lap?

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Despite the tough conditions and used tires, Russell raced to his best-ever qualifying in F1 and will be starting on the front row. Nobody saw that coming. Also, what’s more interesting is that Russell will be starting ahead of his potential 2022 teammate, Lewis Hamilton.

Formula One F1 – Belgian Grand Prix – Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium – August 28, 2021 Williams’ George Russell and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton after qualifying second and third Pool via REUTERS/John Thys

Hence, there are lots to look forward to on Sunday, and Russell could well be the driver to watch out for if the conditions remain similar to Saturday.

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Along with Russell, his teammate, Nicholas Latifi, too, enjoyed his career-best qualifying session to secure P10 for Sunday’s race. So, are Williams in for big points haul for the second consecutive race? Well, we’ll know soon enough.

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Rohit Kumar

1150 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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