For the fifth time in a disrupted 2020 Formula 1 season, Williams driver George Russell made it through to the second part of qualifying, giving him a 15th place start for the Belgian Grand Prix at the legendary Spa Francorchamps circuit in Walloon, with team-mate Nicholas Latifi four places back in 19th.
After initially making ground at the start, George dropped back a couple of places, and completed lap 1 in 17th place, behind the two Alfa Romeos he’d out qualified – something that would play a big part in the outcome of his afternoon.
On lap 14 and with Russell still in 17th place, the Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi a couple of places ahead, lost his car coming out of turn 14 (apparently turn 14 at Spa is called Campus. Who knew??), hitting the barriers and rebounding across the circuit.
The Alfa Romeo’s wheel tethers rather worryingly failed to prevent Giovinazzi’s rear left from bouncing into the path of the oncoming Williams, Russell helpless to avoid clattering it as he arrived on the scene. (Check it out here.)
Thankfully neither driver was injured in what could have been a nasty accident, but it was the end of Russell’s afternoon, as the safety car was required while marshals cleared away the debris.
Nicholas Latifi, suffering from balance issues with his FW43, struggled to keep pace with those ahead of him all afternoon, taking the flag in 16th place, ahead of just the Haas of Kevin Magnussen who’d pitted late on in the Grand Prix, admitting later that it was a ‘tough race’.
Leaving Spa with a DNF and a 16th place is scant reward for an impressive qualifying, but a clear step forward in terms of performance.
Away from the track it had earlier been announced that Williams Racing had been sold to US investment firm Dorilton Capital and that for the first time in the Williams Team’s history it wasn’t family owned. Quite what this meant to the team in the short-term it wasn’t yet clear, although significant changes to both board and key personnel look likely.