Firstly, it was always going to be a disappointing 2021 Spanish Grand Prix for me on a personal level – irrespective of what happened on track – as I had weekend grandstand tickets, but was unable to go because of the pesky COVID lockdown restrictions in both the UK and Spain.
Instead of sitting in the sunshine with friends and a nice cold beer in my hand and some mild sunburn watching some great racing, I was at home mowing the lawn, in the drizzle, trying to keep my head down so I don’t get roped into another homework task with the kids. As I said, very disappointing indeed.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, Williams headed to Barcelona on the back of a so-so Portuguese Grand Prix, hoping that the weather at the Circuit Catalunya wouldn’t once again expose the FW43B‘s weakness in dealing with wind.
An unremarkable Saturday (but, I suppose, for the fact that Saturdays are usually quite remarkable for George Russell!) for both cars saw George Russell qualify 15th and Nicholas Latifi 19th for Sunday’s 2021 Spanish Grand Prix.
Opting for a one-stop-strategy, which became a two-stop strategy as a result of an early safety car (and later a three-stopper for Latifi), Williams demonstrated that it could battle with some strong midfield cars, for a time at least.
George enjoyed a good fight with Fernando Alonso for a points paying position mid-race before being gobbled up by a gaggle of cars behind, all on a different strategy and fresher, softer rubber, eventually crossing the line in 14th position – a poorer result than perhaps the performance of both driver and car deserved.
“We have to be satisfied with the job we did today. The car in the race today felt good and I felt really confident, however the result doesn’t quite reflect that” George told WilliamsF1.com after the race.
Latifi fared slightly less well, struggling for pace throughout, saying after finishing 16th:
“…it was a challenging race out there. However, even though the pace isn’t where we want it to be, I’m happy that the most important session of the weekend was the one that the car felt best in”, alluding to the fact that he felt most comfortable in the race itself as opposed to practice and qualifying.
A point once again eludes Williams despite seemingly being within touching distance at points throughout a Grand Prix weekend.
“Once again, the top-10 was agonisingly close, but this only increases our appetite and motivation to push everything out of the FW43B for the rest of the season.” said Dave Robson, Williams Team Principal.
The 2021 Spanish Grand Prix didn’t quite break Williams’ trend of threatening to trouble the top ten, but not quite achieving it, and the team remains pointless in 2021. On to Monaco!