Russell & Williams blown away as Portimao dream becomes a nightmare

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

George Russell and Williams were blown off course on race day in "the most difficult race since 2019" at Portimao.

The Briton was dreaming of his first points for the Grove-based team after qualifying 11th and anticipating an advantage from having a free choice on tyres.

Instead, Russell quickly dropped down the field to 16th, finishing 42 seconds behind the 15th place AlphaTauri of Yuki Tsunoda.

And at the heart of all Williams' problems was a car simply unable to cope with the windy conditions in Portugal.

“It was an incredible struggle, probably the most difficult race we’ve had since 2019,” Russell said.

Also Read:

“I said it since the beginning [of the year], we know the strengths and we know the weaknesses of our car, [as it is] incredibly sensitive aerodynamically.

“We saw at Imola when conditions are calmer the performance was there, we saw yesterday in qualifying, conditions calmed down for that Q2 run and the performance was there, as it was in FP1 and the performance was there, and we saw today it was nowhere.

“Unfortunately, that’s the nature of the beast with our car at the moment. We’ve had three races now, two of which have been very gusty and at exposed circuits.”

Such was Williams' lack of pace, Mick Schumacher was able to split Russell and teammate Nicholas Latifi in a Haas car which has been the slowest all season so far.

“It gives no confidence in myself or Nicholas to attack in those first laps,” George said of the instability in the wind.

“We’re constantly on the backfoot battling from behind and it was a race of survival, keeping the car on the track as opposed to actually racing and as I said one of the hardest races we’ve ever done.

“So it was a real shame, as the car has potential. Have we just been unlucky? I don’t know. Will this be the story of the season? Perhaps not, as we have had two of three races very gusty, very windy, everyone up and down the pit lane has been talking about it and Bahrain and Portimao are very exposed.

“Let’s see as the season progresses. It is clear there is pace in the car but the stars have to align for us else we’re going to be nowhere really, as we were today.”