In the last race with the Williams family at the helm, driver duo George Russell and Nicholas Latifi will be starting from the back row for the Italian Grand Prix after a tough Qualifying for the team at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
Sir Frank Williams and daughter Claire will depart the team at the conclusion of the race weekend in Italy following the recent buy out of the squad by Dorilton Capital.
Dave Robson, the Head of Vehicle Performance, stated that although the session was a difficult one, it puts them in ‘good stead’ going into the new future of Williams Racing.
“As ever, the qualifying game in Monza for anyone without the quickest car is a cat and mouse game on the out-lap, and a competition to prepare the tyres correctly whilst also getting a tow from the cars ahead. We knew that we needed a good tow to help our laptime, and therefore had to embrace the game,” stated Robson.
“When our cars left the pitlane for the final run, both were in good positions to capitalise. Nicholas was able to start his lap behind the Mercedes having had a clean out-lap, but George was less fortunate and got embroiled in a battle with a few other cars at Parabolica, eventually opening his lap very close to the Alfa Romeo. This compromised his lap very early and he had to abort, to his obvious frustration.
“Although we made good improvements to the car overnight and enjoyed a productive FP3 session, we simply weren’t quick enough at this circuit and this led us to push everything to its limits in pursuit of gaining some grid positions. In the end, we pushed some things too far, making today a very difficult and frustrating day for all of us.
“Tomorrow will be tough, but it is a long run to T1 and there could be opportunities to make some progress. We will refocus tonight and try to push the performance further tomorrow.
“Today was a day for learning and the experience of such a difficult session will ultimately stand us all in good stead in the future as we go forward together on our new journey.”
“It was a frustrating session for all of us” – George Russell
Russell found the session frustrating after getting caught in traffic. The British driver has had a good run of getting into Q2, however, this wasn’t the case today and will start nineteenth.
“It was a frustrating session for all of us, especially in the moment. Looking back there wasn’t a huge amount more the team could have done, if they sent me a bit earlier or a bit later. We would still be in the same boat,” said Russell.
“It is just one of those Monza things unfortunately. Nevertheless, we have our eyes focused on tomorrow.”
Latifi, who will start at the back of the grid in twentieth, knew the team would struggle coming into Monza. The Canadian driver does ponder whether Q2 was realistic for him but hoped to do better.
Latifi said: “It was very tricky out there. We knew we were going to struggle coming to this track, which has proved to be the case. The closing speeds are very high, from when someone is pushing and when someone is not, everyone wants the tow at this track as it makes such a difference. My first lap wasn’t great, the second was better but still not perfect from my side and there was more time there on the table.
“Whether Q2 was realistic, it is difficult to say but we definitely could have been a bit quicker. Full focus is on tomorrow now and to see what we can get.”