Wisbech Grammar School student beats Lewis Hamilton and claims the first podium finish of his Formula One career

Former Wisbech Grammar School student George Russell has been awarded second place in today’s (August 29) Belgian Grand Prix after the race was abandoned after just two and a half laps.

By Alan Swann
Sunday, 29th August 2021, 7:49 pm
George Russell celebrates the first podium finish at te Belgian Grand Prix. Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images.
George Russell celebrates the first podium finish at te Belgian Grand Prix. Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images.

Two attempts were made to stage the race, but heavy rain made conditions too dangerous. Under Formula One rules two completed laps is enough to constitute a race with half points being awarded to the drivers.

That meant finishing places were effectively decided by qualifying and Russell had stunned the sport by finishing second in his uncompetitive Williams behind Max Verstappen, and one place ahead of world champions Lewis Hamilton.

Russell, who celebrated the first podium finish of his Formula One career, said: “We don’t often get rewarded for great qualifyings, but we absolutely did today.

George Russell after qualifying at the Belgian Grand Prix. Photo: John Thys/Getty Images.

“It was a shame we did not get the race under way but, from my side, and the team’s side it’s an amazing result.

“The whole team deserve it because there has been so much hard work going into work over the last few years and there has been nothing to show for it, but we absolutely nailed it yesterday.”

The 23-year-old was only pipped to pole by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen with the final lap of the qualifying session, but to put an uncompetitive Williams car second on the grid in such treacherous wet conditions on one of the world’s most demanding tracks ahead of Hamilton was a performance that stunned the sport’s fans.

Williams average starting position this season was 13th.