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Fenland's George Russell claimed his first Formula One podium at the 2021 Belgium Grand Prix




George Russell gained the first podium finish of his Formula 1 career at the Belgium Grand Prix on Sunday.

Russell - who grew up in Tydd St Giles - was awarded second place after the meeting was abandoned due to heavy rain in Spa.

The drivers had made several attempts to start the race only for the weather to halt their plans, meaning Russell could celebrate the landmark occasion in style.

The Williams driver, who was a student at Wisbech Grammar School, had been widely applauded for his qualifying performance on Saturday, with his impressive stint deemed"the sort of lap of which legends are made" by BBC chief F1 writer Andrew Benson.

The 23-year-old was only denied a historic pole position after Dutch superstar Max Verstappen pipped him on his own final qualifying lap, but Russell would still start ahead of fellow Brit and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Things weren't quite so straightforward come race-day, with the Belgian Grand Prix delayed by more than three hours and then brought to a halt after just two laps - both of which were completed behind a safety car.

The shortest race in F1 history was deemed official because it reached the required two laps, however, and Russell insisted the length didn't matter.

"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," he said.

"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.

"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 (Saturday)."

With half-points dished out because of the race's cancellation, Russell added nine to his tally and now has a total of 13 - putting him 15th in the Driver's Championship.



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