George Russell is the kind of driver who many people say has a championship in his future, the kind of driver who punches above his weight, the kind of driver that crowds adore. He came up big Friday in qualifying at Silverstone.
You read that right, as qualifying for Sunday’s British Grand Prix is on Friday — not Saturday — this year thanks to an experimental format Formula 1 is trying. And qualifying Friday actually isn’t for Sunday’s grand prix either, it’s for Saturday’s sprint race, a shorter version of the grand prix that will determine the grid for Sunday.
It’s the first time Formula 1 has tried this format, and I’m already a fan, given that on Formula 1 Fridays we’re usually talking about something boring — the first two practice sessions — and not something exciting — George Russell absolutely killing it in qualifying in front of adoring fans.
Russell handily made it through to Q3 on Friday, but the fact that he is able to crack the top ten at all — in the second-slowest car in F1 — is a testament to how much he’s able to get out of his car. The crowd knew, too.
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What happened next, in Q3, was even better, as, before the rest of the field completed their final hot lap, Russell did his. It was good enough for eighth place but that wasn’t really the point, since he’d already guaranteed top ten; the point was that Russell had earned what amounted to a lap of honor. You can watch the whole lap here, and I highly recommend it, as it is one of the feel-good moments of the season.
Among the British drivers, a lot of people, including me, thought that this weekend might be Lando Norris’s chance to steal the spotlight — and he still very well might, qualifying sixth for tomorrow — but so far everything’s coming up Russell, and I wouldn’t hate it if that trend continued. Because while Lando’s an underdog, Russell should have no business running with the big boys, given the car he’s got. Nicholas Latifi, Russell’s teammate with ostensibly the same car, qualified 18th.