Williams Martini Racing’s Chief Technical Officer Paddy Lowe could feel that today’s Italian Grand Prix was going to be good, thanks in part to the absence of the torrential rain that was seen the previous day.
“From the start, it was a very different day than yesterday. The sun was shining and there was a big Italian crowd, so you could feel we were building up to a good race.”
Williams lined up on the grid a season-best second place, thanks to Lance Stroll’s stellar performance in a wet qualifying and the Red Bull Racing cars (who set faster times) both having grid penalties.
Stroll was jumped at the start by Sahara Force India F1 Team driver Esteban Ocon, who affected a pass around the outside of the Canadian at the first turn. This started a race-long battle between the two, which the Frenchman eventually won.
Whilst Ocon finished sixth, ahead of seventh-placed Stroll, the result could have been very different were it not for a long pit stop for Stroll.
Lowe claimed that despite Ocon overtaking Stroll at the start and remaining there until the finish, Williams actually had stronger pace.
“Both drivers got good starts, but unfortunately Lance lost a position to Ocon, and the race settled down from there.
“I think we had slightly stronger pace than Force India today. We could have potentially got back ahead of Ocon but uncharacteristically, we had a small problem with Lance’s pitstop.
“Lance pushed hard but wasn’t able to get ahead, so in the end he finished seventh with Felipe right behind him on track in eighth.”
Stroll’s seventh and teammate Felipe Massa’s eighth place finishes provided the team with ten much-needed points, and pushes their buffer the next-placed Scuderia Toro Rosso up to fifteen. This, Lowe says, is thanks to the hard work of the team.
“It’s a valuable 10 points that we really need at this stage in the championship, so congratulations to the team who have done a great job back at the factory and at the circuit this weekend, and well done to the drivers who drove very consistent races to bring home the points for us.”