There’s no getting away from it, the 2022 Formula 1 season has been a disappointment for Williams Racing. And it looks like a season destined to end with a whimper as the team’s focus shifts to 2023 and a ensuring that car and campaign is much improved if the Brazilian Grand Prix is anything to go by.
For the second year in a row The Brazilian Grand Prix hosted a ‘Sprint race’ – a much maligned tweak to the traditional Grand Prix format that nobody seems to want on one hand, but that seems to bring in oodles of cash for #F1 on the other – and that being the case are obviously set to increase from three in 2022 to six in 2023, despite protests from those within and without the sport.
Unusually, and almost uniquely, the Brazilian Interlagos circuit tends to lend itself to sprint races (a shortened version of a Grand Prix that determines the grid for Sunday’s main event), and generally produces something of note, as opposed to the 100km procession you get virtually everywhere else.
Friday qualifying saw Latifi qualify in 16th, and Albon only narrowly miss out on Q3 with a great lap that secured him an 11th place berth for Saturday’s sprint.
Saturday’s race was less positive though, as Alex collected debris from an early incident resulting in him being the sole retirement of the race. Latifi trundled home last of the remaining runners. This, unfortunately, meant that the Williams duo would occupy the back row for the Grand Prix.
At the race start, a couple of incidents allowed the pair to move forward – as high as 14th and 16th – without really being able to do much else before the fall of the chequered flag some 71 laps later.
It was a frustrating weekend for the team, who appear to be now seeing out the season before starting afresh in 2023.
On a brighter note, the same can’t be said of one of Williams’ ex-drivers – George Russell, who drove for the team between 2019 and 2022 – who secured not only his first win in Saturday’s sprint race, but also his first ‘proper’ win in the Grand Prix with two stellar performances in which he looked every bit Lewis Hamilton’s successor. Congratulations George!