Belgian GP: George Russell embraces 'strange' first F1 podium as qualifying heroics count
George Russell seals his first F1 podium in bizarre circumstances after finishing second in Belgian GP, which only lasted two laps behind the Safety Car as torrential rain hit Spa
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 29/08/21 8:51pm
George Russell admitted his maiden F1 podium was "strange" but said that "doesn't matter" after the Williams star's qualifying heroics essentially clinched his race second place on a wet and weird Belgian GP on Sunday.
Russell also revealed that Williams believed he had the "17th fastest car" - highlighting his achievement on the previous day, while also illuminating the challenge he had awaiting him were the race to have started as normal.
Amid heavy rain and poor visibility at Spa-Francorchamps, the race began more than three hours later than planned and then only lasted two laps - both completed behind the Safety Car.
It was the shortest race in F1 history, but the two laps meant an official result and classification was reached, albeit only awarding half points to the top-10. Russell, by qualifying second, therefore finished second and stood on the podium with race-winner Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.
What a weekend! It’s no secret that we’ve had some tough times in recent years, but not one member of this team has ever stopped pushing. You all belong up on that podium, @WilliamsRacing. It was a privilege to represent you up there today. 💙 pic.twitter.com/9hLpCUaanF— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) August 29, 2021
"It doesn't matter," said the British driver about his second place and the way he secured it.
Russell added to Sky Sports F1: "I have to admit, it was quite a strange feeling because earning this podium without really doing any race laps, I don't think I've had this in my whole career - let alone for a Formula 1 race!
"I guess I'm not quite as elated as I ordinarily would be, but going back to the garage, celebrating with the guys, trophy in one hand, champagne in the other, I'm sure we'll all remember this for a long, long time."
Russell's podium in a Williams that has run towards the back of the field for most of the season came on the back of his first points for the team at the last race in Hungary.
"We'll take it no matter what and we've also got to remember it was only last race where we scored our first points together in Williams, in our third season," he said. "And here we are standing on the podium at the Belgian GP. If you told me that at the start of the year, I'd have said no way.
"Obviously if the race went ahead today, it would have been incredibly difficult to hold our position. Our strategist had us down as the 17th fastest car on the grid!
"To try and fight for podiums with the 17th fastest car would have been very difficult but you've got to take it as it comes, the hard work was done yesterday. "
With his nine points, Russell now has 13 for the season and is 15th in the championship. He is hoping to land the Mercedes seat next to Hamilton next season, in a head-to-head battle with current Silver Arrows driver Valtteri Bottas.