From a Williams Racing point of view, the Turkish Grand Prix kind of came and went without so much as a ‘Merhaba’ (Turkish for ‘hello’ – I looked it up).
After a dry Friday during where George Russell found himself again hovering just outside the top ten, rain was forecast for Saturday and Sunday.
As we know, Rain has the potential to open up all sorts of opportunities for smaller teams like Williams (see Belgium race and Sochi qualifying), but it can also threaten to derail the whole thing (see Belgium).
So providing it was the right kind of rain (that’s #F1 in 2021 for you!) Williams were set for an interesting couple of days in which the duo of George Russell and Nicholas Latifi might – just might – be able to build on their already impressive points tally for 2021.
However, come qualifying there were no heroics from George as he slotted in 15th, with Nicky (as he appears to be calling himself these days) two places back in 17th. Both benefitted from penalties and were bumped up a couple of places to 13th and 15th respectively.
Sunday morning arrived and it was wet and cold. The rain wan’t so intense that it might stop the show, and as we know, anything is possible on a wet track, right?? Wrong.
Despite very little rain falling, the track refused to dry. And because it wasn’t getting any wetter, unusually, all 20 cars started on intermediates, stopped for new intermediates (but for a throw of the dice by Vettel and Aston Martin who instantly regretted donning the medium slick and returned to the pits immediately) and ended the race on the same tyre.
Additionally, and again – unusually for a ‘wet’ race – there were no retirements, meaning there was nothing to be gained by Williams by soldiering on and hoping to pick up places from other peoples’ misfortune.
And so after losing some ground at the start of the race, both George and Latifi (who spun on lap 1) spent a largely anonymous race managing tyres and the tricky conditions before coming home 15th and 17th respectively, bookending Fernando Alonso who’d been punted off by fellow Frenchman Pierre Gasly at T1, returning the favour on Mick Schumacher shortly afterwards, earning the same penalty himself.
‘Difficult’ and ‘frustrating’ were the words being bandied around by Williams post-race.
The great news is that Williams’ two drivers remain in 15th and 16th in the WDC and Williams 8th in the WCC, ahead of Alfa Romeo and Haas, with a points haul of 23 – the team’s best for some time.
Austin TX next up!