Williams Racing had a frustrating day at Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday after they finished the Belgian Grand Prix without scoring any points.
George Russell started from fifteenth place on the medium compound tyre, while his team-mate, Canadian Nicholas Latifi, started nineteenth, running the same tyre.
The Canadian pitted twice, first for a set of hard tyres on lap 11, and then again on lap 30, for a set of mediums.
Latifi finished in sixteenth place, but Russell’s race came to an abrupt end after Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN‘s Antonio Giovinazzi hit the barrier just ahead of him. A tyre detached itself from Giovinazzi’s car, which he was unable to avoid, causing him to also hit the wall.
“There was nothing we could do” – Russell
Speaking about the incident, Russell said he simply happened to end up getting caught up in what was happening around him, and he was unable to do anything to avoid it.
“It is frustrating, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and there was nothing we could do. I went to the left to avoid Antonio’s car and then his wheel came from nowhere and hit the front of my car which pushed me into the wall.
“It was quite a big impact, but I am ok. I feel very fortunate to have the halo on the car as it could have gone quite near my helmet. It was a very unfortunate set of circumstances, but that’s just racing sometimes.”
He added he had been able to pass one of the Haas F1 Team cars before the accident, but recognised it still would have been a challenging race if he had continued running.
“Up until that point I was in a good rhythm. I had overtaken the Haas, but it would have been a long and difficult race out there for us,” he concluded.
“I didn’t have a good feeling with the car” – Latifi
Latifi said had not felt happy with the balance of the car since the formation lap, also noting how the conditions had been different compared to earlier in the weekend.
“Straight from the formation lap and the start of the race I didn’t have a good feeling with the car, there was quite an imbalance. The conditions were different compared to the previous days and it was a real challenge out there.”
Nevertheless, he said he did enjoy his last stint, battling with Haas’ Romain Grosjean, and Scuderia Ferrari.
“I enjoyed the last stint pushing flat out on the edge, chasing Romain and the Ferraris. Overall, it was a very tough race today.”
“We felt that we had made some progress” – Robson
Head of vehicle performance, Dave Robson, was disappointed that they had made improvements to their race pace over the weekend, but hadn’t had the opportunity to put them into action in the race.
“We felt that we had made some progress with our race pace this weekend, but we didn’t really get a chance to show it today. Both drivers started well and made places initially but were unable to hang on to them for the first lap.
“This put both out of position and ultimately meant that George was behind Giovinazzi when he crashed. George was forced to take evasive action but couldn’t avoid the debris and ultimately the wall. Although very frustrating, we are relived that nobody was hurt in what could’ve been a nasty incident.”
He said they will now turn their attention to the race at Monza next weekend.
“We learned a lot this weekend that will help us next week in Monza and we are keen to get the cars back on the track and continue to push the cars around us.”