Russell and Williams have been well off the pace for most of the season and were expecting to be on the back row. However, Russell beat Sergio Perez, Daniel Ricciardo, Lance Stroll and Robert Kubica, the latter by over a second. He eventually missed out on Q2 but his performance was admirable nonetheless.
Having brought updates to Germany Russell feels the team are starting to reap the rewards of those updates albeit a race later in Hungary.
"We brought in updates for Germany but made errors so they didn't show up in our performance," Russell told BBC Radio 5 Live.
"Since coming here we've really turned up the pace.
"From P2 onwards I've felt really confident, and I've not felt confident all season.
"I gave it absolutely everything to be up there fighting to get into Q2."