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Portuguese Grand Prix ‘incredibly challenging’ for Russell

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Formula One driver George Russell admitted the Portuguese Grand Prix had been an ‘incredibly challenging’ race after finishing in 16th spot on Sunday.

The Tydd St Giles racer had gone into the meeting at the Algarve International Circuit with high hopes - after taking 11th place in qualifying.

However, the main race proved a difficult one for the former Wisbech Grammar School student, who suffered multiple issues with his car, which struggled in the windy conditions at the Portimão circuit.

George Russell (46811832)
George Russell (46811832)

Russell said: “After Saturday’s qualifying we were all hoping for more, but it was an incredibly challenging race. Our car does not suit these conditions because, when the wind picks up, it becomes a real struggle.

“It’s a shame but the positives are that we know the strengths and the weaknesses of the car, so we just have to hope that moving forward we get some slightly calmer conditions which allow us to demonstrate those strengths.”

There was early drama at the end of lap one - after contact between Alfa Romeo team-mates Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi caused Räikkönen to retire from the race and brought out the safety car for six laps as the track was cleared.

Once racing got under way again, Russell struggled with his Williams FW43B and was quickly passed by Daniel Ricciardo, Giovinazzi and Fernando Alonso to drop him down into 14th before slipping to 16th as the laps ticked down.

By lap 24 of 66, drivers began opting to pit for their tyre change and Russell was able to move up into 12th spot, before pitting on lap 28 to change from the soft to hard compound Pirelli tyres, rejoining the race in 18th place.

Russell was then able to gain two places, moving him up to 16th where he ultimately finished the race.

Attention will now turn to the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona this weekend, with Russell looking to secure his first points of the campaign.

He is currently 17th in the driver standings after three rounds.

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