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Japanese GP: Mixed qualifying fro ROKiT Williams

By Andrew Hooper
October 13 2019

Qualifying for the 2019 Japoanese GP would be run on Sunday morning and for the ROKiT Williams team it would be a session that would produce such mixed result. George Russell would put in a time that would see him finish in 18th after an encouraging performance which saw him finish closer to the top fifteen than in recent races. But for team-mate Robert Kubica his session would see him crash as he started his flying lap going into the barrier at the final corner as he turned in to start the run down the main straight. His car would be badly damaged and with the race just a few hours away there was questions as to whether the team can repair his car, which would require a chassis change.

 ROKiT Williams Racing Japanese GP Qualifying

Team Summary:
With qualifying taking place on the Sunday as a result of the typhoon it would get away on time with the Ferrari's leading the field out. Both Williams drivers were out early but the session would be red flagged when Robert would crash his car into the barrier at the start of the main straight as he commenced his first lap. This would see the period but on hold and all the cars pit. The period would restart with just one Williams running and with the first times been set it would be Gasly quickest with a 1m:29.614 running on the soft tyre. But in a similar accident to Robert Magnussen would also go into the barrier at the beginning of the main straight. He would damage his car but was able to get out and drive back to his pit.

The period would restart with a rush of drivers coming out but they would all be doing the usual thing of slowing down at the final chicane looking to get a clear lap. Noen of the top drivers had set a time but the first of them would be Bottas who would set a 1m:29.413 to be quickest but Verstappen would go quicker with a 1m:28.754 only to see Leclerc going quicker with a 1m:28.405. Verstappen was now second followed by Vettel, Sainz, Albon and Bottas now sixth. Bottas would improve to be third but this would be fourth as Hamilton went second. George was currently 17th. With the end of the period the top ten would be Leclerc, Hamilton, Verstappen, Norris, Bottas, Vettel, Sainz, Albon, Gasly and Grosjean tenth. Neither Williams would amke it past the first period.

The second period would see the top ten been Bottas from Hamilton, Albon, Vettel, Leclerc, Verstappen, Norris, Sainz, Gasly and Grosjean tenth. The final period would see Vettel go quickest on his first run with a time of 1m:27.212 followed by Leclerc, Bottas, Hamilton, Verstappen, Albon, Norris, Sainz and Gasly with Grosjean not setting a time in the first runs. The second runs would see Vettel maintain his lead over Leclerc with a new quickest time of 1m:27.064. Bottas was third followed by Hamilton, Verstappen, Albon, Sainz, Norris, Gasly and Grosjean tenth. For Williams they would see their drivers in 18th and 20th. But there was still questions as to whether Robert's can can be repaired for the race which was only a few hours away.


Robert Kubica:
Robert would be first out for Williams running on the soft tyre. But at the start of his first lap he would run wide at the beginning of the main straight and would see his car going into the barrier. His car would be recovered and Robert would return to his garage to talk to his engineer. His qualifying was over and would later say that he would put his rear wheel off the track slightly but would add that there were a few factors that he didn't want to talk about which came into play.

Robert would comment to Sky Italia after qualifying by saying: "What can I say, there have been a lot of issues this morning. No one is really helping, it feels more like driver harassment than cooperation at the moment." Can you start the race?... "Only if there are spare parts, we'll see."

George Russell:
George would follow his team-mate out for his first run also on the soft tyre. He would pit with the red flag. George would return and was able to set a time of 1m:31.343. With the second red flag removed George would return and would set a 1m:30.970 to currently be 15th. he would pit after a three lap run. He would quickly return for another soft tyre run. He had dropped to 18th and his next lap would see him set a 1m:30.364 to remain 18th. He was just 0.641 behind 15th place which was a marked improvement and was just 0.020 behind Perez.




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