Building on a landmark qualifying where Lance Stroll took his Williams into Q3, a first for Williams in 2018, a disqualification for Romain Grosjean and HAAS in the race promoted Sergey Sirotkin to 10th place to join his team-mate Stroll in the points at Monza – another first for Williams in 2018.
Both drivers drove a controlled race, making the most of the constant development work being done to the FW41 by the Williams team away from the track, avoiding any of the contact being made between the more experienced front-runners (Cough cough).
Sirotkin commented on williamsf1.com that he enjoyed being able to fight at Monza and the handling of the car pleased him. Stroll, clearly delighted, added that he’s now looking forward to the next round in Singapore where he’s hopeful of more points.
Every driver in the 2018 field has now scored points including Sirotkin for whom his point at Monza is the first point of his Grand Prix career. Two points for Stroll take his tally for the season to six and moves him ahead of Marcus Ericsson in the Championship table after 14 rounds of the 21-race season.
It’s heartening to see a lot of the behind-the-scenes work now bearing fruit, and the fundamental aerodynamic issues that were compromising he handling and the stability of the car now seem to be a thing of the past. Singapore might not be a circuit that traditionally suits the Williams car, but as we saw last year when Stroll qualified 18th and made up ten places in the race to finish eighth, the night race can always spring a surprise.
Rumours of Lance Stroll jumping ship to his dad’s team for the remainder of the season seem to have abated for the time being too, which will allow the team to focus on performance and improvement, and worry less about the instability of a new driver might bring. (Irrespective of how much people might want to see everyone’s other favourite driver Robert Kubica in the car!)