Senior Race Engineer with Williams Racing, Dave Robson, has said that the Austrian Grand Prix, held at the Red Bull Ring at the weekend, was a challenge for the team as it saw both drivers finish near the back of the field.
Rookie British driver George Russell started from the pitlane, as a result of a penalty incurred due to a change in front wing, while his team-mate, the Pole Robert Kubica, started seventeenth.
Robson said that Russell had driven well, managing to make up some places after his pitlane start, battling with the Haas F1 Team and Scuderia Toro Rosso cars at the beginning of the race. In a similar vein, Kubica managed to make up some places from starting twentieth on the grid, but was unfortunately not able to hold on to them beyond the opening lap.
“Having found some damage to George’s front wing following qualifying, we opted to fit a spare, and, due to a small specification change, we were forced to start from the pitlane. Despite this, George drove very well and was able to race with the Haas and Toro Rosso cars at the beginning of the race, whilst everyone started to manage their brakes and power units.
“Robert meanwhile had a strong start and opening corners, gaining several places. Unfortunately, he couldn’t hold on to them beyond lap one,” said Robson.
The team were confident that their straight line speed and low power unit temperatures would mean that Kubica could make up some places once more, although this was not to be and he was subjected to numerous blue flags.
“Once Magnussen had pitted and taken his drive-through penalty, we were able to pit Robert for new tyres and emerge ahead of him. We hoped that straight line speed and power unit temperatures might allow Robert to stay ahead of the Haas but this wasn’t the case and Robert had then to endure a difficult race as he absorbed a lot of blue flags,” said Robson.
Robson praised Russell’s drive, believing that he did his best in a difficult situation, being able to close the gap to the Russian Daniil Kyvat ahead. Russell was able to close the gap even more during his pitstop, although Kyvat was able to overtake back on track, leaving Russell no choice to defend against Kevin Magnussen.
George was able to complete a good opening stint on the Option tyre and stay close to Kvyat. We pitted into a decent track position and began to close the gap to Kvyat.
Thanks to another excellent effort from our crew, George’s pitstop was much better than Kvyat’s and we almost emerged ahead.
Unfortunately, once Kvyat had the track position, he was able to pull away and George’s race became one of defending against Magnussen. He did this very well whilst managing his Prime tyre to the end, finishing eighteenth.”
“The whole team did a good job of managing the car in the demanding conditions of Austria and again get two cars home.” he said.