Williams have a Mixed day in Brazil as Russell Finishes Agonisingly Close to Top Ten

by Ellie Jane

ROKiT Williams Racing had mixed race result, as George Russell out performed his FW42, and managed to get twelfth place with the help of a safety car at the end of the race. However, Robert Kubica struggled with his tyres and had a time penalty handed to him and he ended the race in sixteenth.

Russell started down in eighteenth, and finished up in twelfth after sighting his way through during the safety car period which came on lap sixty six after the Scuderia Ferrari paring of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel collided at turn one. This led the Williams driver to pit for the third time in the race, as he completed a three-stop stopping for the soft Pirelli’s once again.

Russell communicated his opinion on the race, explaining he felt it was crazy as the safety car came out in the last ten laps of the race. The Briton conveyed that he tried his best to maximise the positive situation and try to earn his first points of the season.

It was definitely crazy in those last few laps and that gave us half an opportunity. I gave it my everything to take advantage of the situation and overtake a car here or there.

However, Russell finished in twelfth and expressed that he was disappointed but it just was not the right place to take points. He did say that he was happy to get to join in the battling which was happening in last stages of the race.

It wasn’t meant to be though and that’s the maximum we could do. However, it was nice to be in the mix and fully fighting in the closing stages.”

Kubica Struggles in Penultimate Race with Williams

Kubica, finished down sixteenth place, having started in nineteenth place, with the Williams drive completing a four-stop race. However he was handed a five-second time penalty for an unsafe release on his first pit stop which cost Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen a place in the race.

Kubica had a harder race than his team-mate, as he struggled to come back from his awarded penalty. The driver talked of his first stint positively explaining that he felt it went very well, but once he pitted he struggled on the hard tyres.

The first lap of the race was good, I was able to fight with some quicker cars in the first stint. Afterwards I lost the pace, especially with hard tyres.

Kubica touched on his tyres and explained that he had to make the rear tyres work as the front tyres were not working with the car creating no grip for himself and the tyres. The Pole, stopped four times and used medium, hard and two sets of soft tyres during the race.

We had to protect the rear tyres, but, by saving these, we were unable to put any energy into the fronts, making them ice cold with no grip.

Team did well to get Russell Close to Points – Robson

Dave Robson, the Senior Race Engineer at Williams, says that despite not being genuine contenders for points in Brazil, it was good for the team to practice their race operations, and he praised the team for getting Russell into a position where points were just a few seconds up the road.

“Once again, the Interlagos track produced a thrilling race, and while we weren’t in contention for points, it presented us with a great chance to practice our race operations,” said Robson.  “The team did a fantastic job around both safety cars and put our drivers in strong positions to race the cars around them.

“The tyre compounds and track temperature today permitted multiple strategy options and while the safety cars meant that we didn’t get to see the baseline strategies play out fully, it did lead to an exciting race. We opted to start both cars on the medium compound before splitting tyre strategies once we saw the hard tyre behaving well on some of the early adopters.

“The safety cars then gave us opportunities to switch to fresher soft tyres towards the end. Unfortunately, the hard didn’t perform as well on our car and this, coupled with an aggressive pitstop release, compromised Robert’s race.

“The strategy allowed us to beat a Haas on merit and we then benefited from others’ misfortune and penalties as we finished the race in P12 with George and P16 with Robert.”

With just one race of the season remaining, Williams remain rooted to the bottom of the championship standings with only one point to their name thanks to Kubica’s tenth place in Germany, but Robson feels the result in Brazil was a reward for the hard work put in by the team throughout an extremely difficult season.

“After a long and challenging season, this was a thoroughly enjoyable race, which we managed well and gave ourselves the best chance of making up places,” said Robson.  “This is fair reward for the tremendous effort that everyone has put into a difficult season.”

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