George Russell was left feeling like an “amateur” driver in Sunday’s Portuguese Grand Prix after strong winds made his Williams machine “undriveable” around the Portimao circuit.
Russell qualified in his best F1 grid position in 11th, only missing out on a place in the top-10 shoot out by just 0.057secs.
Aerodynamic instability, however, left him fighting his car during the race. He said: “It’s probably one of the most challenging races I’ve had since 2019. Just following other cars with this wind it was just absolutely undriveable.
“It was just a race of survival in the opening laps, just literally doing my best to keep the car on the black stuff which is not what racing is about, so it was a real shame.
“It’s clear, when the wind dropped we were fast, when the wind picked up, we were nowhere. That was the same in the race, too. There were a few laps where the wind dropped and I could go six to seven-tenths quicker.
“It’s really challenging from within because you feel a bit of an amateur when the car is driving you as opposed to you driving the car, but that’s the nature of the beast at the moment.”
British driver Russell, who is chasing a drive with Mercedes for 2022, is banking on the engineers finding a workaround solution to give him a chance of finally scoring his first points for the team this season.
With three races done, two of which were in unpredictable conditions, Russell is confident the team is gathering the performance data it needs to understand where things are going wrong.
Russell added: “We saw in Imola, when conditions were calmer, the performance was there. We saw on Saturday, in qualifying, conditions calmed down for that Q2 run and the performance was there, as it was in FP1.
“In the race it was nowhere. It was an incredible struggle for us. We’ve had three races now, two of which have been very gusty and very exposed circuits, so fingers crossed we are not talking about this all season.
“The positives are we know our strengths and weaknesses. How we solve that is another matter.
"We will get an opportunity when things are more aligned, it’s just a shame that after such a good day on Saturday we could do absolutely nothing in the race.”