Williams F1
Russian GP: Mixed qualifying for Williams Racing.
By Andrew Hooper
September 26 2020

The results of qualifying for the 2020 Russian GP would see a set of very mixed results for the Williams Racing Team. George Russell would be able to make it into Q2 and would finish the session in 14th which was such a great result for the Williams driver. But for team-mate Nicholas Latifi his session would see an early mistake on his first run that would see him run wide and over a kerb which would see him forced to pit. On his second ruin this lack or preparation would see him only manage 19th and was out of the session very early. This was disappointing given his encouraging practice pace. It was fantastic to see George into Q2 despite been at a track which from reports doesn't suit the FW43. George achieved what he did based not on some luck but by sheer pace alone, such a change from 2019.
 
 Williams Racing Russian GP Qualifying
 
Latifi
 

Team Summary:
With both Williams Racing drivers finishing in the top fifteen in the final practice for the 2020 Russian Grand Prix the hope was that their qualifying would see a similar result. A Williams would be the first car out but shortly after there would be a rush of drivers coming out all on the soft tyre. The Williams was on the medium but would pit without setting a time. The only cars yet to come out were the Renault's and Albon. Bottas would set a 1m:32.656 followed by Hamilton, Grosjean, Raikkonen and Giovinazzi. But Kvyat would move up to third. Hamilton would have his time deleted due to a track limits infringement.

Perez was now second followed by Stroll, Verstappen, and Kvyat. Sainz was now in third and Leclerc fourth. Ricciardo was now in fifth but this would become sixth as Hamilton went second behind Bottas. Perez was third followed by Sainz, Verstappen, Leclerc, Ricciardo, Gasly, Albon and Stroll tenth. The Williams drivers were in 13th while the second had yet to set a time. With just over three minutes remaining drivers would start to come back out for their second runs including both Williams. There was a queue of cars all on flying laps including one of the Williams. With the end of the period one of the Williams would be eliminated and the other into Q2.

With the start of Q2 there would be a rush of drivers coming out with both Mercedes on the medium tyre. Apart from Verstappen the rest were on the soft tyre. Hamilton would set a 1m:32.085 on the medium with Sainz now second but Hamilton's time would be deleted seeing him yet to set a time. Ricciardo was now quickest with a 1m:32.218 from Sainz, Perez, Bottas, Norris, Gasly, Verstappen, Ocon, Leclerc and Kvyat tenth. Everyone would pit after their first runs leaving a Williams running by itself. Hamilton had yet to set a time so would have to use another set of medium tyres to achieve this. But the period would come to a dramatic end as Vettel would crash his car seeing a Red Flag come out.

Prior to the stoppage the order was Ricciardo, Bottas, Sainz, Perez, Norris, Gasly, Verstappen, Ocon, Leclerc, and Kvyat tenth. There was just two minutes and fifteen seconds remaining meaning that drivers looking to improve could not take their out laps too slowly. There would be a line of cars at the pit exit as they all waited for the period to restart. Stroll would have an issue and would be pushed back to his garage ending his qualifying. The only Williams did not come out for a further run. Hamilton was able to go fourth fastest behind Sainz. The top ten would finish as Ricciardo, Bottas, Sainz, Hamilton, Perez, Norris, Gasly, Albon, Verstappen, and Ocon tenth.

The final period of qualifying would commence and after the first runs it would be Hamilton quickest with a 1m:31.391 from Bottas, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Perez, Sainz, Ocon, Albon, Gasly and Norris tenth. After the second runs Hamilton would remain quickest but it would be Verstappen on the front row with Bottas third. Perez was in fourth followed by Ricciardo, Sainz, Ocon, Norris, Gasly, and Albon in tenth. Despite Nicholas's mistake seeing him get only one flying lap it was still an encouraging qualifying for Williams Racing. It was fantastic to see George into Q2 despite been at a track which I understand doesn't suit the FW43. George achieved what he did based not on some luck but by sheer pace alone, such a change from 2019.

 
Russell
 

George Russell:
As the session started George was out first running on the medium tyre. He would pit after a single lap having aborted his lap saying the track was very very different. He would quickly return this time on the soft tyre. George would set a 1m:34.629 to be 12th dropping to 13th. George was currently 17th but on a better lap. He would set a 1m:34.020 to be 13th and into Q2. he would come onto his radio very happy with the result. He would say on his radio to his engineer. "Q2 I have missed you". Q2 would see George not come out for run until the first times had been set. His first run was ion the soft tyre. He would end up been the only car on the track. He would set a 1m:33.583 to be 13th. He would pit after a three lap run. This would be his only run in Q2 so that was his qualifying over finishing in 14th after drivers completed their second runs.

Nicholas Latifi:
Nicholas would join the rush of drivers coming out for their first runs. He was on the soft tyre but would have his first lap time deleted having run wide and gone over a sausage kerb. Nicholas would pit without a time recorded. He would return for a second run again on the soft tyre. Nicholas was at the start of a queue of cars as he started his flying lap. He would set a 1m:35.066 to be 15th but would drop to 19th and was out of qualifying. Really a case of it been a one lap session making it very difficult for him to assess the track conditions prior to attempting his quickest flying lap, a difficult task.

 

Russell