Williams end miserable season at the back of the field in Abu Dhabi

by Tom Cairns
Robert Kubica & George Russell - ROKiT Williams Racing in the 2019 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Yas Marina Circuit - Race

Williams Racing concluded their dismal 2019 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season scoreless in Abu Dhabi.

Tenth place in the Constructors’ Championship with only one point marks the Grove-based squad’s worst season in their forty-three year history.

After out-qualifying his team-mate at every single round in his rookie year in the sport, George Russell showed what he felt was “strong pace” in the race on Sunday, which was enough to see him finish ahead of Pierre Gasly in seventeenth.

“It was quite a fun but tough race, and the pace was relatively good,” Russell said.

“I didn’t make a strong start and a few people overtook me. After the pitstop the pace was strong for us, and I was pleased with the last half of the race.”

Robert Kubica ended his time with Williams the last of the finishers, as floor damage made his car more difficult to drive than what he wanted.

“It has been a difficult year and today it wasn’t easy, but at least we had some battles,” Kubica added.

“On lap one with George we touched at turn five and then later on with Giovinazzi, we touched quite heavily. I damaged the right-hand side of the floor quite a lot, so the last 35 laps were very difficult.

“It has not been an easy season, but at least we tried to give it our everything and didn’t give up.”

Kubica’s solitary point in Germany in July sees him above Russell in the Drivers’ Championship.

George Russell - ROKiT Williams Racing in the 2019 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Yas Marina Circuit - Qualifying
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Senior Race Engineer Dave Robson “enjoyed” the final race of the year, given how far off the pace his cars were.

He shared about Russell’s stint on the soft tyres, saying that he would have passed ex-Williams driver Lance Stroll, had the Canadian not retired late on.

“We enjoyed the final race of the season and raced hard to the end. George was ambitious on the opening lap and caused some damage to Robert’s car, which hampered his pace for the remainder of the race,” Robson shared.

“With a paddock-wide DRS problem early in the race, George was destined to complete the first stint behind Robert and was only in front of Gasly who had to pit for an early front wing change.

“We pitted Robert a little earlier than planned as we looked to cover Stroll. Robert was able to pull out a healthy advantage over George but, equally, George was able to create a tyre advantage. Once again, we allowed them to race after the pit stops and, on this occasion, aided by DRS, George was able to clear Robert and then, with Robert’s car damaged, pull away.

“George then enjoyed a very good stint on the option tyre. His pace and low degradation allowed him to chase down Stroll and he would have passed him easily had the Racing Point not retired. Robert’s pace was further compromised by a collision with Giovinazzi, which caused quite extensive damage to the floor and bargeboard on the right-hand side of the car. This meant that he fell back into a clutch of lead cars, losing further ground to George.

In what has been a tough campaign, Robson has thanked his drivers and team personnel for their hard work “with good humour” along the way.

“Throughout a difficult season, the drivers and the whole team have performed well, professionally, and with good humour. We thank Robert for all his efforts behind the wheel and at the factory. His determination, experience, and knowledge have been invaluable over the last two years. We wish him all the very best for his future.

“George has served his first season in Formula One in difficult circumstances, however, his talent, drive and enthusiasm are obvious and it is clear that he has everything he needs to be a truly exceptional F1 driver. While he may not appreciate it fully yet, this year may prove to have provided him with some very valuable experience that will pay significant dividends in the future.

“Our attention now immediately turns to 2020 as we focus on tyre testing. This is a very good opportunity to understand the new tyres in hot conditions and will provide us with the information we need to select compounds for winter testing and the opening races of the 2020 season.”

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