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Dutch GP: Qualifying team notes - Williams

NEWS STORY
04/09/2021

George Russell qualified 11th and Nicholas Latifi 14th for tomorrow's Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort. Both drivers successfully progressed to Q2 using the soft Pirelli tyre.

Unfortunately, both drivers' sessions came to a premature end with George finding the barriers on his final effort in Q2 as he looked set to improve on his previous best effort of a 1:10.332.

After the session restarted, Nicholas was also aiming to improve on his previous effort of a 1:11.161 but crashed hard at turn eight, bringing out the second red flag of qualifying.

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: We have obviously sustained some damage to both cars following Q2 and we need to assess that tonight. George's car doesn't look too bad, but the damage on Nicholas's is more extensive. It is unfortunate that neither car was able to set a representative laptime in Q2 as we were building up good momentum, which started in FP3. The car was better today than it had been yesterday, and we chose run plans in qualifying that allowed the drivers to maximise the tyre preparation. Unfortunately, George made a very rare mistake near the end of a lap that was looking good enough for Q3. Nicholas too was performing very well, had an excellent Q1 and was pushing George very hard until he just lost the car when passing the Mercedes, which was on an out-lap.

We have a bit of work to do tonight but should still start the race in a strong position. Given how tricky this circuit is and how penalising the smallest of mistakes can be, we are looking forward to a good race and will be looking for both drivers to make progress.

George Russell: Unfortunately, I made a mistake on my final run. I was pushing to my maximum and I was on a really good lap but the rear tyres were right on the limit. I just attacked the final corner too hard and lost the rear of the car, as I knew it would be tight for getting into Q3. We picked up a little bit of damage on the rear suspension but thankfully the gearbox is fine, and it's nothing that the guys and girls won't be able to fix overnight. At that point, the lap would have been good enough to promote me into the top-10 so apologies to the team as that is not how I wanted to finish my qualifying session. It's a circuit that everyone is really going to struggle to overtake at and nobody knows how the tyres are going to react, so it will be interesting to see how the race pans out tomorrow.

Nicholas Latifi: Having seen the replay of my incident in Q2, I think I slightly misjudged the turning point and caught the grass. It's such a high-speed corner that you can't really recover from that. We were compromised a bit with the first red flag, but even on used tyres I could see that I was improving my time and so I was pushing hard. It was a big impact, but these cars are very safe and I feel fine. There was a quite a lot of damage caused, so apologies to the guys and girls who will be working hard to fix that for tomorrow.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Zandvoort, here.

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