Dave Robson, the Head of Vehicle Performance at Williams Racing, was delighted the team finally scored their first points of the 2021 Formula 1 season on Sunday, with Nicholas Latifi and George Russell both breaking into the top ten in the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The initial wet start helped them move up from their lowly grid slots as a number of drivers ahead were involved in incidents at turn one, and their placement in the pit lane aided them at the restart of the race following a red flag.
Latifi was able to run third in the early laps before finishing eighth on the road, while Russell ended ninth. Both drivers then moved up one spot when Sebastian Vettel was disqualified due to a technicality from second place.
Robson says the team made the most of the situation at the Hungaroring, and despite being tight with fuel at the end, they were able to bring home their first top ten finish since the 2019 German Grand Prix and their first two-car points finish since the 2018 Italian Grand Prix.
“Today, a small amount of rain caused a big swing in fortunes for the field,” said Robson. “We obviously benefited, not least from the crashes at the initial race start.
“However, the Team made the most of the situation and made good decisions throughout the race. Both drivers managed their pace, their cars and their tyres expertly and both were calm and confident throughout.
“Although we ultimately lost some places to faster cars, we are nonetheless very happy with the result. Finishing on the lead lap and in relatively dry conditions meant that we had to work hard to manage the fuel, but this was done well and in conjunction with the tyre management.”
“The result is due to a huge amount of work at the track and the factory”
Robson says the whole team need to be given credit for the result in Hungary, even if fortune did play a big part in the outcome of the race. He says everyone has been working extremely hard and they have benefitted from all the practice they’ve done in the past few seasons to improve.
He also says it gives the team confidence going into the summer break, and they will come back for the Belgian Grand Prix were renewed optimism they can contend for points. They have moved ahead of the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN team and are seven points clear of them and ten ahead of the Uralkali Haas F1 Team.
“Whilst we were a bit fortunate today, the result is due to a huge amount of work at the track and the factory and the ability to put into practise everything that we have learned as a Team over the last few seasons,” he said.
“We can now begin our preparations for Belgium before taking some time off. When we return, we will attack the second part of the season with renewed confidence.”