F*ck, *rse, w*nk, b*llocks, tw*t, sh*t, b*stard, another f*ck, another w*nk and more b*llocks.
That’s my summary of the outcome of the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola, after so much hard work (and good work) had been done by everyone at Williams Racing to engineer a strong position going into the latter phase of a race that looked like it would yield the first points of the season and George Russell’s first in Formula 1, but that ended with one car in the wall and the other in p11.
A now customary outing in Q2 for Williams’ George Russell gave him another midfield start, from where it was hoped he could capitalise on any dramas ahead and move up at the start of a race that looked like it might be short on overtaking, given the nature of the narrow Imola circuit in Italy.
Team-mate Nicholas Latifi would line up 19th – slightly further back than he’d have been aiming for, but from where he’s found himself knocking on the door of a points finish already this season, driving with consistency and assuredness.
At the start – at times this year his undoing – George would hold station, able to compete with those around him, including the, on paper, quicker McLarens and Renaults, and ahead of Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari, and benefitting from Pierre Gasly’s retirement on lap 7 to move up into p12, two away from those elusive points.
After pitting on lap 11, Russell steadily made his way back up the field and into the top ten when Max Verstappen’s tyre failure ended his own race, prompting the first Safety Car of the afternoon.
Sadly, with just 12 laps to go, George made an uncharacteristic mistake under the SC, losing control of his Williams FW43 and spearing off into an unforgiving concrete wall, and his afternoon – that promised so much – was over.
Immediately accepting his mistake, a forlorn George sat by the side of the Imola circuit knowing he’d just chucked away his best opportunity yet to break his, and Williams 2020 F1 points duck.
“I came out of the corner and the tyres were too cold and I just lost the car, and I was already in the wall. It is absolutely gutting, and I am really sorry to the team. We were having an amazing race up until then, we were pushing really hard every lap and the pace was good. There are no excuses, I have to go away and learn from this and come back stronger next time.” George told williamsf1.com
His reaction was typical of a young guy who has a mature head and a positive attitude. It’s likely to be a tough couple of days ahead for both he and the team as they wonder what might have been, but they and he will come back stronger as a result.
If George is to have the Formula 1 career that everyone predicts, amongst the highs, there will inevitably be struggles, and the ability to bounce back from disappointment can make or break a Grand Prix career.
A silver lining for Williams is that one of their cars was in the top ten on merit. Qualifying, race start, race pace and strategy were all great, it was just undone by one small mistake. Take out that slight flick of the wrist or twitch of the foot and Williams would be on the board for 2020.
To frustrate matters more, Nicholas Latifi in the #6 Williams again found himself in 11th position, tantalisingly close to a point after another solid (if slightly pedestrian) Grand Prix. But it wasn’t to be.
Williams will score points before the season is out – mark my words!