Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer at Williams Martini Racing, says he’s happy with the team’s fourteenth and fifteen place finishes in the Chinese Grand Prix – much happier than he was following the Bahrain Grand Prix, where the team finished fourteenth and fifteenth.
Williams have been one of the surprises of the 2018 season, losing the form they displayed last year. After the opening three races of the 2017 season they had sixteen points, which would be good enough for sixth place in the Constructors’ table this year, however they’ve so far failed to finish any higher than fourteenth.
They currently sit last in the table on zero points, behind Sahara Force India Formula One Team with one.
The Chinese Grand Prix didn’t look to be a return to form or the points for the team either, with drivers Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll qualifying in sixteenth and eighteenth respectively. This did improve in the race, though only to fourteenth for Stroll and fifteenth for Sirotkin.
Speaking after the race Lowe admitted that the results weren’t great, however he was pleased with the progress the team made, with neither car being lapped – as was the case in Bahrain.
“Although these aren’t great results, and certainly not in the points, compared to where we were in Bahrain it’s fantastic get two cars to the finish in fourteenth and fifteenth.
“We were certainly in the race today whereas in Bahrain we were not even competing, so a much more positive feeling for everyone and something we can build on in the weeks to come.
“Both cars had really good starts off the line with Lance taking the most profit out of it, through turns one and two, and getting as high as twelfth with Sergey fifteenth.”
Strategy has proved increasingly imperative to a team’s performance – especially with Lowe’s old employers Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport – and following the race, Lowe was keen to emphasise that Williams beat fellow mid-field competitors Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda and Haas F1 Team driver Romain Grosjean on strategy, rather than speed.
“We always planned the one stop soft-medium and we stuck with that as it was working very well for us.
“The safety car didn’t help us that much but we took the opportunity to put Sergey on the soft tyre, which appeared to be a better tyre for us and for this circuit, as indeed it appeared to be for the front runners.
“On pace, we were able to beat the Saubers but through strategy, we were able to beat both Toro Rosso cars, as well as the Haas of Grosjean.“