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Russell : “Max is just going to slice through the field” – Post Qualifying Interview transcripted – 2023 Saudi Arabian GP

Interview with F1

F1: George, you must be pretty happy with that. So that’s a second row start.

GR : Yeah. P3 on the grid tomorrow. Really, really pleased with that. That was far from expectations. The work the team did overnight was really great. A lot of effort went in to just try and maximise the package we’ve got. We know we’re not where we want to be, but, you know, starting P3 tomorrow is a lot more than we could have expected coming into the weekend.

F1: And it must be exciting knowing that there are two, well, maybe faster cars, a Ferrari and a Red Bull starting where Q2 kind of eliminators would be. So are you excited for that kind of race as well?

George: Not really, no, because they’re going to be coming through quite quick. You want to have a good tussle on track with competitors in a similar ballpark to you. But obviously, Red Bull are in a really fantastic place right now. Their car is exceptional. Max is just going to slice through the field. We’ll do our best to keep them behind, but when they’ve got a second pace advantage, they can kind of do what they like with the strategy. They’ll come back through comfortably.

F1: But your race pace must be solid enough to get a podium, maybe?

George: Yeah, I think we need to see Max, that’s the biggest question mark. Charles as well, how he’s going to come through the field. But definitely why not? Why shouldn’t we be aiming for a podium and, you know, put in the fight? I think Fernando…, the two Aston Martins is probably where our biggest fight is tomorrow.

Interview with Sky Sports F1

Sky Sports F1: GR, congratulations on your P3 start for tomorrow’s race. That was a great session. You must be pretty happy with that.

GR: I would have taken that. I definitely would have taken that. No, really happy, to be honest. Really fun driving around this track. Car felt good. Obviously. We know we’re lacking a bit of overall downforce, but more than we could have hoped for, given all the circumstances. And ultimately, that’s all we can do when we’re at a racetrack. So really pleased with that.

Sky Sports F1: Is it going to be an interesting turn one with you and Alonso?

GR: Back when I was with Williams and Fernando in Alpine, we had a couple of tussles together. We have to wait and see. It’s going to be an interesting race. Sometimes the strategy can be dictated by incidents, VSCs, Safety Cars, but we think we probably have a better race car than a qualy (qualifying) car. So, yeah, pleased with lining up P3.

Sky Sports F1: Do you look at tomorrow as an opportunity in the sense that with one Red Bull so far back, is there anything the team can do to work together to try and hopefully, one keep him at bay, and two get a better result for yourselves?

GR: I’m sure we’ll do our best, but when you got a car that quick, you can kind of do whatever you want. And you saw what Max did last year from 15th in Spa and he’s got a faster race car this year. So, yeah, those guys, credit to Red Bull. They’ve done an exceptional job. We just need to focus on ourselves and find some more performance.

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