George Russell was overcome with emotion after he finished ninth for Williams in Hungary, not only taking his first-ever points for the team but backing up Williams’ first double-points haul since the 2018 Italian Grand Prix.
Russell rallied to P8 from P17 on the grid after the opening lap collisions that took out five drivers from the race, while team mate Nicholas Latifi shot up 12 places to P6 on Lap 1. After some spirited teamwork from the Briton, Latifi finished eighth and Russell ninth – ahead of Max Verstappen, who picked up damage from the Lap 1 incident – both drivers taking their first points for Williams.
And after plenty of close calls with top 10 finishes for Russell in a Williams, whose hopes were dashed in Austria as Fernando Alonso swept past late on and, most recently at Silverstone as he was penalised for clashing with Carlos Sainz in the Sprint, he was emotional in Hungary when he finally bagged those first points for the Grove team.
“I literally shed a tear earlier, I don’t know literally where it came from; it all just came flooding out,” he said on the F1 TV Post-Race Show. “It does mean so much more than just scoring points. When you’ve been fighting for this for so long, at one point you just think: is it ever going to happen?
2021 Hungarian Grand Prix: Russell asks Williams to ‘prioritise’ team mate Latifi
“When the situation in Imola happened [when he crashed out after tangling with Valtteri Bottas], when I was in Austria – P8 – and… was breaking down, then Fernando passing me a few laps to the end. And then with Silverstone, getting the penalty – maybe deserved, maybe it wasn’t – I felt like today was probably [going to make up for it] and we’re probably even on the luck side of things, and I guess we really capitalised,” he added.
Williams have had a turbulent run in the World Championship, as the nine-time constructors’ championship-winning team endured a point-less 2020 and have finished last in the standings for the past three seasons. After Hungary’s haul, they’re now eighth ahead of Haas and Alfa Romeo, and hoping for a bright future ahead under new CEO Jost Capito.
“I truly believe we deserve to be in P8 in the constructors’ championship; I think we’ve done a better job than Haas and Alfa this year and we deserve to have six points on the board,” continued Russell. “It means so much. I got quite emotional to be honest because it’s not just a P9; it’s three years of hard work for me personally.
“Four years for the team, proper disappointment along the way, tough moments – not just for me personally, because what I experience, the team are experiencing too. It’s just a huge relief,” he said at the Hungaroring.