“It was about survival“. That was Sergey Sirotkin’s assessment of his 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix after starting 14th but quickly going backwards after the start.
The Russian struggled with the handling of his Williams FW41 from the get-go, adding: ‘I felt like I was dancing on ice‘.
Both Williams drivers pitted early to switch from the soft tyre, on which they started, to mediums on laps 16 and 17, attempting to undercut the cars around them with a long second stint.
Sadly, that didn’t work, and with Interlagos being such a short track (just 4.3 kms in comparison with Spa, say, which is 7 kms), both drivers struggled to get into any kind of rhythm having to drive to the blue flags and avoid impeding the quicker cars more often than not.
This is easier said than done as both McLarens found out, receiving a 5 second penalty for ignoring blue flags apiece.
Lance Stroll struggled with his Medium tyres, and after 48 laps, they gave up and the Canadian was forced to pit for a second time, seven laps before the end of the Brazilian Grand Prix, this time opting for super-soft tyres, and a sprint to the finish.
“The bottom line is we were not quick enough, and I am not sure we could have done anything with our strategy.” said Stroll, post race, having brought his Williams home in 18th position.
Sergey Sirotkin, 16th place finisher added he was “very disappointed after a tricky race.”
It’s difficult not to share that disappointment as a Williams fan.
Seeing the cars struggle from the entirety of the race, irrespective of driver, tyre choice, strategy or fuel load is not where we want to see Williams.
The lone consolation is that there’s now just a single Formula 1 Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi to endure before we can put this torrid season to bed.
In 35 years time, when the future equivalent of Guy Martin comes along looking for an F1 car to restore and race at the future host venue of the British Grand Prix (assuming Silverstone will be a housing development by then) against the future version of Jenson Button, it’s safe to say he won’t be choosing the Williams FW41.
Hopefully they’ll all be in a shipping container at the bottom of the sea somewhere in the Persian Gulf about a mile off the coast of Abu Dhabi where they belong.