George Russell has hailed the progress his Williams F1 team has made in 2020 after being on the cusp of making it into Q3 in qualifying for the Styrian Grand Prix.

Russell was one of the stars of qualifying at the Red Bull Ring having narrowly missed out on a place in Q3.

The British driver will start a career-best 11th, moving up a place thanks to Charles Leclerc's three-place grid penalty.

Reflecting on his qualifying heroics, he said: “There’s no way I would have believed that [we’d be fighting for Q3] prior to this weekend. If you told me this two weeks ago, prior to last weekend, even Q2 was a stretch.

“I really love that. Like I say, sketchy out there, the car was moving out there but I loved it.''

Despite his impressive qualifying performance, Russell is remaining level-headed, acknowledging that today's showing was not a true reflection of Williams' true pace.

“My engineers were telling me there were cars slowing down and I was like you’re going to have to tell me where they are as I couldn’t see anything. I am really pleased for all of the guys - they come week in week out giving it everything. Even though it’s not the true pace of the car they deserve this result.''

With Russell set to start Sunday’s Styrian GP one place outside of the points-paying positions, the Mercedes junior is eyeing his maiden top ten finish.

“Well I hope we can at least hold onto it, '' Russell added. “I think surprisingly our straight-line speed looks relatively good, points are the aim but we need to wait and see.''

 

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