Reigning F2 champion George Russell impressed in his maiden F1 season, with a qualifying whitewash on his more experienced team-mate. Here are all the facts and statistics from his 2019 season.
Despite his uncompetitive machinery, George Russell proved to be one of the stars of the 2019 season. Nothing more could have been expected of the reigning F2 champion in his rookie season, given his car’s performance. Although his team-mate Robert Kubica scored the team’s only point of the season at Hockenheim, it’s arguable that Russell should have scored that point, but for a strategic error and a mistake on track. Ironically, the German Grand Prix was one of only two races in which Kubica finished ahead of Russell.
Nevertheless, it was Russell’s performances against Kubica in qualifying which were particularly impressive. He beat Kubica 21-0 on Saturdays in 2019, with a massive average gap of over three tenths per sector in qualifying. His most impressive performance was at Hungary, where he nearly dragged the FW42 into Q2.
Russell will have a new challenge at the Williams team in 2020, with former F2 rival Nicholas Latifi taking Kubica’s place. Russell will be looking to be fighting more cars than just his team-mate in his sophomore year.
A STATISTIC FROM EVERY GRAND PRIX
Australia: George Russell out-qualified his team-mate by 1.707 seconds at the 2019 Australian Grand Prix – the largest gap between team-mates at the event. The gap can be somewhat explained by Kubica puncturing his tyre after hitting the wall on his final fast lap.
Bahrain: At the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix, George Russell became the first team-mate of Robert Kubica to out-qualify him at two races in a row since the 2009 season. The last time a driver did so was at the 2009 Singapore and Japanese Grands Prix, where Nick Heidfeld out-qualified the Pole at BMW Sauber.
China: It was highly unlikely that he’d claim the accolade but George Russell became ineligible to become Formula 1’s youngest polesitter after the 2019 Chinese Grand Prix. By the time of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the Williams driver was older than Sebastian Vettel was when he took pole at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix.
Azerbaijan: George Russell qualified nineteenth for the third time in his career at the 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix. He remained the only driver on the grid to have beaten his team-mate in qualifying on every Grand Prix appearance.
Spain: George Russell and his team-mate were the only drivers from the eighteen finishers who didn’t complete all 66 laps of the 2019 Spanish Grand Prix. Sixteen drivers completed all 66 laps of the 2019 Spanish Grand Prix. That’s the most number of drivers to finish every lap at Catalunya. Ten was the previous record, set in 1997. Eighteen drivers finished the race, marking the equal second-highest finish rate at the track, bettered only in 2014, when 20 of the 22 starters finished the race.
Monaco: For the first time in 2019, George Russell finished ahead of more drivers than just his team-mate in the Monaco Grand Prix. Lance Stroll and Antonio Giovinazzi finished behind the Williams driver.
Canada: In Q1 at the 2019 Canadian Grand Prix, the gap from Lance Stroll’s lap time for eighteenth on the grid to Sebastian Vettel’s session-topping time (1.066 seconds) was smaller than the gap between Lance Stroll and George Russell (1.351 seconds), who qualified nineteenth.
France: George Russell finished behind his team-mate for the first time in 2019 at the French Grand Prix. This was mostly as a result of the Brit visiting the pits twice during the race. Russell finished only nine seconds behind Kubica on track despite this.
Austria: For the first time in 2019, Williams were not the slowest team in one sector of the track in qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix. That was thanks to George Russell, who was the sixteenth fastest driver in Sector 1, faster than team-mate Robert Kubica, both Haas drivers and Daniil Kvyat.
Britain: George Russell finished fourteenth in the 2019 British Grand Prix, recording the best finish of his career up to that point.
Germany: George Russell gained six positions from where he started at the 2019 German Grand Prix. It was the most positions he gained in any race in 2019 – he’d also gain six places in Brazil.
Hungary: George Russell recorded the best qualifying result of his career so far with sixteenth at the 2019 Hungarian Grand Prix, narrowly missing out on reaching Q2. Having started fifteenth, Russell finished the race in sixteenth, making this the first Grand Prix in his career where he’s finished in a lower position than where he started.
Belgium: As a result of grid penalties for plenty of other drivers, George Russell recorded the best grid slot of his career so far, starting from fourteenth. At this point, Russell held the record for most appearances without a DNF. He had appeared in thirteen Grands Prix but was yet to fail to finish. There are 97 drivers who never recorded a non-finish in all the races they started in their careers, with 69 of those only appearing at one event.
Italy: After Sergio Perez was beaten by Lance Stroll in qualifying for the 2019 Italian Grand Prix, George Russell became the only driver to have beaten his team-mate in qualifying at every round of the season. Charles Leclerc and Russell were the only drivers who finished the race in the same positions as they started.
Singapore: After crashing with Romain Grosjean in the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix, George Russell retired for the first time in his career. It was also the first time that a Williams driver retired in 2019, and the first time a Williams car has retired from a race since both Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin failed to finish the 2018 German Grand Prix.
Russia: George Russell and Robert Kubica failed to finish the 2019 Russian Grand Prix, making this the first Sochi race where neither Williams driver has crossed the finish line.
Japan: As he finished sixteenth in the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix, George Russell became one of 51 drivers to have reached the chequered flag on every appearance at the Suzuka circuit.
Mexico: For a second race in a row, George Russell finished sixteenth in the 2019 Mexico Grand Prix. It was the first time that he has finished in the same position at two consecutive races.
United States: At the 2019 United States Grand Prix, George Russell became the first Williams driver to finish in seventeenth position at the event since Pastor Maldonado in 2013.
Brazil: George Russell finished twelfth in the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix. It was his best result of the 2019 season, beating his fourteenth place finishes at Silverstone and Monza.
Abu Dhabi: At the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, George Russell completed a clean sweep of out-qualifying his team-mate at every race of the season. It’s a feat which has been completed only three times this millennium – Mark Webber did it in 2002 and Fernando Alonso did it twice, in 2008 and 2018.
Nicky Haldenby is a freelance writer from Scarborough, England. After graduating from the University of Hull in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its fourth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations, and sister site GPDestinations, where he shares regular race previews and articles focussed around the latest in Formula 1 calendar and venue news. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky can also be heard regularly as a guest on various Formula 1 radio shows and podcasts.