George Russell felt he had his first Formula 1 points “in the bag” at the Tuscan GP before a disastrous finish to the race cruelly denied the young Brit.
Russell has proved himself as an F1 star in the making during his year and a half at Williams, although most of his headline performances have been on Saturdays – and indeed he has never been out-qualified by a team-mate.
But at Mugello, Russell finally looked destined for his first top-10 finish – running superbly in ninth and comfortably ahead of both Renaults – before the second red flag, after which he had a poor restart on the grid.
That dropped him down to last place, and although he overtook Romain Grosjean – he had to settle for 11th.
“I was ahead of the Ferraris and the pace was good,” Russell told Sky F1. “I was fully maintaining the position. We had P9 in the bag there to bring it home.
“Then I lost all my positions off the line on the second restart with a poor launch. I don’t really know what happened, everything seemed to be on target. I went straight into wheel spin which was really odd, and got hit by Kimi [Raikkonen].
“The race went wrong at the wrong time.”
He added: “It’s such a shame as the race was under control, and I was in P9 before the last red flag. I was driving like hell, everything was stable.
“I am disappointed for myself and the team as I feel like we deserved that. Under normal circumstances with the great initial start we had, we would have been in the points.”
Vettel’s praise for ‘poor soul’ Russell
Russell was leading Sebsatian Vettel in the Ferrari before Lance Stroll’s big crash, which led to the second red flag.
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