F1 preview: A lap of the Austrian Grand Prix
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Formula One legend Fernando Alonso has admitted he was “sad” to deprive George Russell of his first points driving in a Williams car. Alonso overtook the British driver with just four laps to go of Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix to snatch the final points finish.
Russell has been a member of the Williams team since 2019, but is still yet to score a point for the British side since he began driving for them.
While that may not impress those who do not watch Formula One regularly, Russell has starred in a car that has long been the worst on the grid.
The Englishman is yet to be beaten in qualifying by a Williams team-mate and has made it into Q2 in every race of this season so far.
To cap what has been his best campaign yet in the sport, the Englishman put his car into the top 10 shootout for the first time, a feat no Williams driver has achieved since 2018.
After Sebastien Vettel was handed a three-place grid penalty for impeding Alonso in qualifying, Russell started Sunday’s race in eighth.
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But the 23-year-old lost several places on lap one before recovering to run in the points for a long period of the race.
He ended up in tenth-place for the closing stages of round nine of the Formula One season, with Alpine driver Alonso the man behind him.
Russell produced a stunning rearguard action to hold off the two-time world champion for nearly 10 laps.
He fended off numerous attacks from Alonso at Turns 4 and 6, as he edged agonisingly close to securing his first points for Williams.
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But with just four laps to go, Russell’s defence finally gave way, with Alonso sweeping past him at Turn 4.
Alonso would go on to secure the final points finish to consolidate his 11th place in the world championship standings.
Russell meanwhile finished 11th, keeping his Williams team above Haas, though Alonso expressed his sadness that the Englishman was the final man he had to overtake to secure a points finish.
“It was very intense, unfortunately for only one point, but it felt like it was the last lap of the championship for us,” Alonso told Autosport.
“At one point it was gold for him and for ourselves after starting 14th. It was nice. In a way when I saw it was George, I felt a little bit sad the battle had to be with him.
“I think he will have the opportunity to stand on the podium and fight for race wins, I guess in the future, if he goes to Mercedes.
“I enjoyed today. One point starting 14th was not expected, as our simulations this morning, they were a little more pessimistic than P10. I will take the point.”
Formula One will take a one-week break before heading to Silverstone for Russell’s home race at the British Grand Prix.
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