George Russell feared Q1 exit before grabbing P2 start

George Russell admitted his front-row start for the Belgian Grand Prix had exceeded his wildest expectations after a tough Friday at Spa-Francorchamps.

The Williams driver produced a brilliant qualifying performance in the rain to ensure he will start second alongside Max Verstappen, outpacing Lewis Hamilton.

The Briton had been only P14 and P17 in Friday’s two free practice sessions, but lived up to his ‘Mr Saturday’ nickname when it mattered.

“I don’t know what to say,” was Russell’s initial post-qualifying reaction. “I thought we’d have been doing a good job to get out of Q1 how we got on yesterday and now we’re standing here on the front row.

“I think the guys did an amazing job. We were on the track always at the right time, the car was feeling great, I had so much confidence, so on to tomorrow now.

“I think I was in a fortunate position of having nothing to lose. We were in Q3, which was not a norm for us, and we just had to go for it. We saved the full maximum engine mode for the last lap and I’m absolutely buzzing.

“But obviously tomorrow is the important one and I’ve got to go out there and score some more points.

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