It’s no mistake, George Russell and Nicholas Latifi have pushed the FW43 this season with Russell qualifying the car in Q2 eight times over the 2020 season, however the 2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix proved to be a less than impressive end to the season for the pair.
Russell crossed the line in fifteenth place having started in sixteenth, and Latifi in seventeenth after starting the race in seventeenth. In spite of both drivers on a one-stop and two-stop pit strategy, they were only able to make up one place from their starting positions at Yas Marina Circuit.
Russell, who was only confirmed to race back at the team on Thursday, was pleased with the season the team has had, saying: “I’m proud of the season we’ve done here at Williams. The team have worked their socks off to make the most of it, it’s been a massive step forward and we have to be grateful for that.
“It’s still not where we want to be, but everyone is working really hard to improve the car. It’s been an emotional and intense season on and off the track and everyone now gets some well-earned rest. Today, we made the most of it too. It was an optimised race and we did the best we could, keeping some faster cars behind us.”
“It was a very difficult Grand Prix” – Latifi
Latifi, who was on a two-stop strategy, found the last race of the season to be hard going, describing an initial struggle with balance and overall pace in the early stages of the race.
“It was a very difficult Grand Prix, as a team we didn’t have the pace today and we weren’t as competitive as we have been in other races,” said Nicholas. “I was struggling a lot with the balance in the opening stints, but as the race went on it settled down.
“The last stint was fun putting on a fresh set of medium tyres and pushing flat out to the end. It is a shame as it’s not how we wanted to end this season but coming into this weekend we knew that this track didn’t suit our car. That is my first full season in Formula One done and it’s been a big learning year; I can’t wait to get started next year.”
“It has been difficult at times, but overall, it has been a great success” – Robson
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance indicated that while today was a ‘decent’ race for the Williams Racing team, there were some issues that were hindering the overall performance, saying: “Today we had a decent race and stayed on top of the tricky balancing act of managing tyre and brake temperatures. Both drivers did well and raced hard with Haas and Alfa Romeo.”
“George’s final stint on the Prime tyre was very good and although he wasn’t able to stay with Raikkonen for the whole stint, he did manage the car well and put in a strong performance, keeping Giovinazzi behind and finishing just behind the Ferraris.
“Nicholas took an extra pit stop in order to cover the two Haas cars, but could also have managed his tyres to the end if his best strategy had required that. His pace was good, and he finished strongly, close to the George-Giovinazzi battle.”
Some of the Williams team will now remain in Abu Dhabi for the official Young Driver Test on Tuesday, where reserve driver Jack Aitken and team test driver Roy Nissany will take to the wheel of the FW43.