George Russell says he is pleased to have challenged Valtteri Bottas in Sakhir Grand Prix qualifying just like Lewis Hamilton does on a weekly basis. Hamilton is missing this weekend after testing positive for coronavirus.
Toto Wolff has picked an adequate replacement and his efforts of convincing Williams to release Russell are paying dividends.
The young Brit secured second place on the grid after reaching Q3 for the first time in his career.
The 22-year-old will line-up alongside team-mate Bottas but will have Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who qualified third, on his tail.
Russell is pleased with the learning experience so far, especially as he is as close to Bottas as Hamilton usually is.
“Valtteri has pushed Lewis a huge amount in qualifying over the years and statistically there has only been a tenth between them and we all know how good Lewis is,” Russell said.
“I am right behind Valtteri, coming in last minute, two days off prep – I am pleased. Let’s see what we can do tomorrow.
“I have got Valtteri in front of me which I have not experienced in a long, long time.
“I will give it my all and see what I can do.”
He added: “It has been incredibly intense, so much to learn, getting used to the car. It felt really alien to me to begin with.
“It is a really different way of driving to be honest. I am trying to unlearn what I learnt at Williams and relearn how to drive this car fast.
“I tried a lot of things in FP3 and it didn’t go well at all so, to be honest, I’d have been honest to just get through to Q3!
“Really pleased. We got it all together in the final lap. Obviously gutted to miss out on pole by 20 milliseconds but if you told me last week I’d be qualifying P2 on the grid I wouldn’t have believed you.”
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