It seems that last season Williams Racing finally embarked on an upward curve, in terms of car speed and development after a few years of sitting at the back. It was clear to see the pace improvement with George Russell regularly progressing through to Qualifying 2 and there were even races where both cars were fighting to get into that second session in Qualifying.
One of the highest moments of the season for the Grove-based team was when as previously mentioned both cars made it into Q2 at the Hungarian Grand Prix. This was the first time Williams had achieved such a feat since the 2018 Italian Grand Prix and the first time rookie Nicholas Latifi had achieved this in his short Formula 1 career.
Another high point of the season for Williams was the pace of the car in qualifying, in 2019 the car did not manage to progress from Qualifying 1, in 2020 the British team bettered that feat 10 times, with Russell doing this nine times and Latifi once.
…and the lows
However, one of the lowest results of the season came at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, George Russell was in a great position to score Williams’s first points since last year’s German Grand Prix but under the safety car, he spun and crashed his FW43 into the wall between the Piratella and Aqua Minerale corners whilst trying to warm tyres. For Williams to miss out on their first points since Germany last year will have been heart-breaking for both team and driver.
Undoubtedly a low note for not just Williams but for the whole of Formula 1 was the departure of Williams family members after the Italian Grand Prix from the team. Since their first race at the 1977 Spanish Grand Prix the team has been run by Sir Frank and then more recently Claire Williams. But after the team was sold to Dorilton Capitol it marked the end of an era for the Williams family and an emotional day for all parties involved.
Over the course of the season George Russell dominated team-mate Nicholas Latifi in every single race they raced in. Out-qualifying Latifi sixteen times to Latifi’s zero.
Russell would manage to make Qualifying 2, nine times over the course of the season however, it was a different story who only managed to make Q2 once at Hungary. Jack Aitken who was replacing Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team bound Russell for the Sakhir Grand Prix would have out-qualified Latifi if not for invalidating his lap on the final corner but still managed to qualify in eighteenth.
In the races, it was a similar story Latifi may have been the more consistent of the two drivers, suffering fewer retirements, but Russell still managed to out-race team-mate Latifi ten times to Latifi’s six.
Neither drivers were able to score points in the FW43 but both drivers were able to finish in eleventh place, Latifi achieving this three times (Austrian, Italian and Emilia Romagna Grand Prix) and Russell achieving this once (Tuscan Grand Prix).
|Round||Latifi Qualifying||Russell Qualifying||Latifi Race||Russell Race|
|Sakhir||17||Aitken – 18||RET||Aitken – 16|
What to look for in 2021
Looking forward to 2021, the Grove-Based team are sticking with the same driver line-up and it will be the first full year under the new backing of Dorilton Capitol. As the team are now using Mercedes gearboxes as well as the other parts that are supplied to them by the German team, we can expect further improvement from Williams.
It would be fair to expect that 2021 will be the year that a Williams car finishes in the points after a long absence, and I expect them to finish ninth in the Constructor’s Championship.
Latifi will be hoping to be more consistent in qualifying, after some strong showings in the race, but will have to be very strong if he wants to out-qualify a team-mate of the calibre of Russell. Russell will be aiming to score his first points with Williams and after a couple of races this year when he came close, he will be able to learn and take that experience into the year ahead.