On what was a difficult weekend for Williams Racing, it almost turned into the perfect one at the Italian Grand Prix after the team almost came away with a double points finish. George Russell secured another points finish in ninth with Nicholas Latifi just missing out in eleventh at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza.
After starting the race in thirteenth and fourteenth, the team wouldn’t have been expecting to have been on the cusp of a double points finish, yet things unravelled their way, sort of!
The team pitted Latifi on lap twenty-three, in the hope of performing an undercut on those ahead whereas Russell was being made to run his opening stop longer. In theory Latifi’s strategy was the stronger, however a safety car on lap twenty-six for Lewis Hamilton’s and Max Verstappen’s crash, allowed both Alpine F1 Team drivers and Russell to pit and gain a huge amount of time on those who had pitted early.
This elevated Russell up to ninth, behind Fernando Alonso but ahead of Esteban Ocon and Latifi who was left in eleventh. Russell just managed to find himself in the right place at the right time, unlike Latifi who was extremely unlucky. Both drivers maintained their position for the remainder of the race, meaning that Williams gain a further two points for their constructors campaign.
Williams Racing Head of Vehicle Performance Dave Robson recognises that it wasn’t the team’s strongest weekend and that they capitalised on others misfortune. Robson was also quick to praise Latifi who really was so unfortunate with the timing of the safety car.
“This weekend has not been our most competitive in terms of absolute pace, however, today we put forward a decent race car, which both drivers could use to attack the cars ahead. We gained some places from other people’s misfortune, but equally we kept out of trouble and both drivers did very well at a difficult and demanding track.
“Nicholas was outstanding in the first stint and was well positioned after the pit-stop. However, the timing of the Safety Car was unfortunate for him and, conversely, perfect for George who was able to jump Nicholas through the pitstop. From then on, George managed an excellent race, defending from Ocon and keeping Alonso very honest. Nicholas was unfortunate to miss out on a points finish, but nonetheless drove very well in another race that will serve him well in the future.