Williams’ two drivers Robert Kubica and George Russell may well have crossed the finishing line at the end of a chaotic German Grand Prix in 12th and 13th places but they would end the day with their first world championship point of 2019 in the bag.
Ahead of them, the two Alfa Romeos were found to have contravened the FIA’s tightly regulated laws on traction control and as a result were each handed a 30 second penalty, promoting world-champion elect Lewis Hamilton into ninth and Williams’ Robert Kubica into the top ten for a 2019 point that we thought might never come, and could well be the team’s last of the season.
It was Williams’ first championship points since Monza last year, and is some reward at least for a great deal of hard work back at the factory, albeit as a result of a huge slice of luck.
No fewer than seven drivers retired in the first wet race of the season, promoting Williams to their highest finish of the year even without the Alfas being DQ’d.
Four of the top five in the championship found themselves either in the wall or pointing in the wrong direction, terminally for Bottas and Leclerc, with Verstappen and Hamilton able to continue, albeit with very different outcomes.
Verstappen took the race win for Red Bull whereas Hamilton could only scrape a brace of points thanks to the naughty Alfa boys.
Behind Max was the impressive Sebastian Vettel having fought his way from the very back and Daniil Kvyat, giving Toro Rosso their second ever podium and their first for a decade.
Amazingly, Hamilton was able to extend his championship lead thanks to closest rival Bottas’ retirement when he looked on course for a second place finish that would have seen him cut Hamilton’s lead in half.
The updates to the Williams FW42 that the team brought to Hockenheim showed early promise in FP1, but proved fragile and ultimately failed to deliver the step forward in performance we all hoped.
How much of this was due to the team not wishing to cause unnecessary damage to their cars, regrouping and going at it full tilt again in Hungary with strengthened test parts remains to be seen.
However, with the Hungarian Grand Prix just 1 week away, there isn’t a great deal of time to design, manufacture and ship anything new and so it’s likely that what Williams brung they’re going to have to run.