The Williams Formula 1 team ended first practice for the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix in 17th and 18th position, with the Racing Point of ex-Williams driver Lance Stroll behind them in 19th, the last of the drivers to set a time.
In a season of very few positives we must celebrate small wins as and when they come, and this particular success follows George Russell’s performance in qualifying in Spain where he managed to close the gap between himself and the rest of the field to a mere 0.6 seconds, it’s another step towards Williams’ ultimate 2019 goal of being able to compete with F1’s hotly contested midfield and proves Williams are at least moving in the right direction.
The Monaco Grand Prix is the sixth of the season, and follows Williams’s worst ever start to a Formula 1 campaign, the highlight of which being two 15th places for George Russell in Bahrain and Azerbaijan having spent much of the season cut adrift from Williams’ competitors.
At the other end of the spectrum, it was a session dominated once again by the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and another ex-Williams driver Valtteri Bottas who are aiming for the team’s sixth 1-2 of the season in six races – an unprecedented opening to a Formula 1 season.
This year’s Monaco Grand Prix is the first Formula 1 race since the death of three-time Formula 1 World Champion Niki Lauda, who was Non-Executive Chairman of the Mercedes F1 team up until his passing on Monday night, at a race he won on two occasions.
Among the numerous tributes being paid to Lauda this weekend, Williams have a ‘Danke Niki’ message on each of their cars’ airboxes.
Hopefully this year’s Monaco Grand Prix will do the great man justice.