Williams Racing has shown improvement at the start of the 2020 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, as qualifying saw them not far from the second session and with improved pace.
Williams had a much more positive qualifying session, despite rookie Nicholas Latifi qualifying in twentieth. George Russell showed improved pace from the car 2020 as he out-qualified both Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN cars and finished less than a tenth from second qualifying session; a marked improvement on 2019 which saw Williams fail to reach the second session of qualifying all season.
Latifi had a quieter qualifying, finishing at the bottom of the grid following an accident in the third free practice session, where he hit a barrier wiping out his front wing.
Russell was positive with his day in the FW43, tThe team showed improvements since last season, as Russell nearly made it out of the first session of qualifying.
“Today has exceeded my expectations, I knew we had made a step forward, but I didn’t think we would be in this position.
“Unfortunately, we missed the slipstream that we were aiming for on my previous lap, that cost me about two tenths, but it was definitely a very good effort.”
Russell was happy with how much Williams have improved their pace since last season, praising the team for their efforts.
“We have made a big step forward, and this is the closest we have been on pure pace.
“The team did a really good job to get the most out of the car so let’s see what we can do tomorrow.“
Latifi enjoyed his first qualifying session in Formula 1, despite finishing last on the grid as 2020’s only rookie. The Canadian mentioned his mistake in free practice and how it had affected him in qualifying.
“I am pleased with my first qualifying session considering how this morning went. I made a silly mistake in FP3 and I was unable to get the laps in to fully prepare myself for qualifying.
“But I am pretty happy with the pace, and more so because I know there is some time left in me and some time that we can find with the car. We have to go from there and hopefully we have a clean race tomorrow.“
David Robson, Head of car performance at Williams was happy with the performance from the team, but was upset for Latifi losing some of his practice time.
“The car showed reasonable pace in the morning session following some work overnight. It was a shame for Nicholas that he lost track time following a spin which damaged the front wing.
“However, the mechanics were able to repair the car in time for qualifying and Nicholas was able to see the data from George’s car to understand the improvements made since Free Practice 2.“
Robson explained how each of the drivers runs were meant to go at the beginning and end of the session which the team took part in.
“Qualifying was a relatively calm affair with both cars completing their planned runs. Nicholas completed a slightly extended first run as he made up for the time lost in the morning.
Robson added that the data from qualifying will allow them to improve in next weeks Grand Prix.
“His final run was very assured, and today’s experience will be very valuable when we repeat the exercise again in one week’s time.
He followed by praising Russell’s performance as he came close to getting in to the second session of qualifying.
“George built on some strong qualifying performances last year to execute a well-planned and well-judged session during which he has able to beat both Alfa Romeos and come very close to qualifying for Q2.”
He concluded suggesting it will be hard for the team in the race, but was pleased with what the team had achieved so far this season.
“Tomorrow will be a tough fight; however, we are looking forward to a close race with the Alfa Romeos and the Haas cars. It is great to be back at the track and with a car that we can compete with. We have a long way to go but today marks a good first step back towards the midfield.“