Williams "hopeful" of fighting Ferrari in race

Williams is hopeful it can fight the beleaguered Ferrari squad during Formula 1's 2020 Belgian Grand Prix after George Russell finished just behind Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel in qualifying.

Williams "hopeful" of fighting Ferrari in race
Listen to this article

The team's head of vehicle performance, Dave Robson, said Williams was encouraged after Ferrari appeared to show poor form during the long runs in FP2.

Ferrari had both of its cars knocked out in Q2 for the first time in 2020 during qualifying at Spa on Saturday, while Russell reached the middle segment of qualifying for a fifth time this season, ending up 0.207s behind Vettel in P15.

The Italian team was calculated to have the slowest average on the medium tyre long runs in FP2, two places and 0.22s per lap slower than Williams (although Ferrari was 0.324s faster on the un-favoured softs when it comes to race rubber).

Read Also:

"Certainly coming here we definitely didn't expect to be fighting with Ferrari," Robson said when asked by Motorsport.com if Williams had thought it would be fighting the Scuderia in qualifying and if it now felt it could fight the team in the race at Spa.

"It did look like they were struggling a bit yesterday, but even so I think yes we were a bit surprised. As for fighting them tomorrow, I'm hopeful, actually.

"Why not? They didn't look particularly special on high fuel on Friday. So hopefully we can stay with them and battle with them.

"[I] don't think their end of straight speed is particularly brilliant either – a bit like ours. We'll definitely be trying."

Russell celebrated the news he had made it through to Q2 while exclaiming "I was not expecting that - especially after P3" over his team radio.

Robson said his driver was "a bit more surprised than I thought he would [be]".

"He was frustrated coming out of FP3 when his last run was a bit compromised in a lot of traffic, which I think frustrated him – and another 10 or 12 drivers," Robson added.

"So I think it was probably a bit of relief, but he put in a genuinely good lap.

"The engineers did a good job of getting him out at a good time so he could prepare the tyres as he wanted and I think everything just came together really.

"The good thing was the lap in Q2 was pretty much as good, so I don't think it was just a one-off [and] everything coming together in a lucky way.

"Everything came together due to it being well-managed, better than it was at the end of FP3 [where Russell finished 18th]."

Robson also explained that Russell abandoned his first run in Q2 due to a combination of a factors, with the Briton then going on to set a best time in Q2 of 1m43.468s – an improvement of 0.162s compared to his time to escape Q1.

That lap briefly put him ahead of the two Ferrari drivers at the end of Q2, before they improved to take P13 and P14 on the grid.

"It was a scrubbed set of tyres [Russell used on his first Q2 run], so we knew it was going to be a struggle and we'd taken a little bit of engine mode out because it was scrubbed tyres," Robson said.

"And then I think he got caught by a gust of wind at Turn 5 at the end of the Kemmel straight, so he knew he was down and he opted just to save the car and give us a bit more time in the garage for the final run, which was the one that would count."

shares
comments

Related video

Ricciardo says Renault F1 car "happier" in low-downforce trim
Previous article

Ricciardo says Renault F1 car "happier" in low-downforce trim

Next article

Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix – how to watch, start time & more

Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix – how to watch, start time & more
The bold F1 DRS experiment that could end the debate forever Prime

The bold F1 DRS experiment that could end the debate forever

OPINION: The effectiveness of DRS in Formula 1 remains a topic of debate as the winter break gives a chance for reflection on the racing we saw in 2022. For all of its detractors, perhaps an experiment where DRS is cast aside and the impact this has on racing is in order to truly understand its merits in modern F1.

The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche Prime

The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche

OPINION: Everything looked set for Red Bull and Porsche to join forces for the 2026 season, before the marriage between both parties was called off. While at the time it looked like a major coup for Formula 1 in gaining both VW Group powerhouses Audi and Porsche for 2026, Red Bull and Porsche have really been spared a potentially fractious relationship.

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive Prime

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive

Glory days for Tyrrell became increasingly infrequent
 after Jackie Stewart’s retirement. But in the latest instalment of his history of the team for Autosport's sister title GP Racing, 
MAURICE HAMILTON recalls how Ken Tyrrell’s plucky and defiantly small team stayed bold enough to innovate – springing a surprise with F1’s first six-wheeled car

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2022
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Prime

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Motorsport.com in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi.

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Prime

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon Prime

The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s teammate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy Prime

How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022