GEORGE Russell says Williams have made a step forward as Formula 1 heads into its mid-season break.

A rain-affected and incident-strewn German Grand Prix led to the Grove-based team scoring their first point of 2019 a week previously.

But Sunday’s race at Hungary provided stronger proof Williams, who have spent the whole season propping up the grid, are making up ground.

Although Robert Kubica was last of the 19 finishers, his teammate Russell enjoyed a promising weekend.

The 21-year-old missed out on making the second round of qualifying by just 0.053s and finished 16th ahead of Racing Point’s Lance Stroll, Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi and his teammate.

Russell’s performance has left Williams feeling upbeat ahead of the mid-season break, which forces teams to take a fortnight off over a three-week period, with the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa the next race on September 1.

The British driver said: “Saturday definitely exceeded expectations, so it was a little bit back to reality in the race.

“I had a good first lap and made up two positions on (Kevin) Magnussen and (Daniil) Kvyat at turn four and five, which was pretty fun. It was nice to be racing other drivers.

“We’ve still got work to do, but there are a lot of positives to take from this weekend. We’ve made a good step forward.”

In an uneventful race at the Hungaroring in Budapest, Enstone-based Renault finished out of the points, with Nico Hulkenberg 12th and Daniel Ricciardo 14th.

The latter believes the shutdown period has come at the right time, with the team only sixth in the constructors’ standings after 12 races.

Ricciardo said: “There are some positives and the summer break will be good for us.

“We’ll reset, take some time off, we know we’re in it together and we’ll be targeting a better second-half of the season.”

Haas also left Hungary empty-handed, with Kevin Magnussen 13th, while Romain Grosjean was forced to retire with a water pressure issue.

The Banbury-based team have struggled for pace throughout the season, but the former felt encouraged by the latest showing.

“Considering the problems we’ve had this year, it was pretty quick race pace,” said Magnussen.