Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2018

Williams are slower again as F1 nears lap record pace in Canada

2018 Canadian Grand Prix Lap Time Watch

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Williams won the annual Canadian Grand Prix raft race but are as far away from success on the track as they have been all year.

For the fourth time out of the seven races so far this year, Williams are slower around the track than they were last season. Despite an extra DRS zone at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and much softer ‘hyper-soft’ rubber, the FW41 lapped the track 0.7 seconds slower than the FW40 did last year:

The figures make grim reading for Williams. Their nine rival teams improved their lap time on average by 1.1 seconds.

Fixing their aerodynamic problems is a “big project”, chief technical officer Paddy Lowe admitted on Saturday.

“We understand the problem and we will move forward with it,” he said. “Some of these problems, they may be easier to understand than always to solve completely. So we have to see where we land with that.”

As Friday practice indicated was be the case, Sauber are the most-improved team in Canada. An excellent qualifying effort by Charles Leclerc put him in front of both McLaren drivers on the grid.

McLaren saw their season-long trend of improvement relative to the ultimate pace reversed at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Having been 2.9% off the pace in Australia, the team improved at each subsequent race and by Monaco were 1.8% away. In Canada they are 2.9% off again. More significantly, they were out-qualified by the sole Toro Rosso which had Honda’s new-specification power unit.

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve continued the trend of improvement seen at most circuits so far this year. Sebastian Vettel’s pole position time of 1’10.764 established a new track record.

Rubens Barrichello still holds the race lap record of 1’13.622, which he set 13 years ago. Could that fall today?

Last year’s fastest race lap was a 1’14.551 set by Lewis Hamilton. With the cars lapping seven-tenths of a second faster this year it looks like they will be close but not close enough. That may change if someone fancies a late stint on hyper-softs.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

2018 Canadian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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12 comments on “Williams are slower again as F1 nears lap record pace in Canada”

  1. Vettel fan 17 (@)
    10th June 2018, 12:36

    Kind of expect this now. Every race its the same headline

  2. Lance Stroll was 7 tenths of a second quicker this year than he was in quali last year. He didn’t do a lap in the 1:13s in any session last year but he’s managed a 1:13.5 lap this time.

    The difference is that Sirotkin isn’t anywhere near as good as Massa. After Williams spent all summer trying to convince us that Stroll and Sirotkin were a good combination, they don’t want to admit that the main reason they are struggling because their drivers are bad.

    1. And Kubica in the garage is getting more TV time than their cars on track. Its just sad…

      1. I don’t know about sad, your comment made me laugh XD
        It’s true!

    2. @petebaldwin my first reaction was why do they not revert to last year’s car but it won’t change much of the drivers problem…
      That’s the problem to take the best time set by any car of one team during the weekend. Massa’s times are the reference for Williams and we know that Stroll was well off that.

      1. my first reaction was why do they not revert to last year’s car but it won’t change much of the drivers problem…

        @jeanrien – unfortunately, the halo’s inclusion this year meant that a lot of the frame and safety cell of the car has been reinforced to take the load of the halo (and to transmit loads placed on the halo in an accident safely away from the driver). Retrofitting that into the 2017 car will be as complex a task as fixing the 2018 car (not to mention it’ll have to be crash tested again, etc.).

        I’m not saying it’s a bad idea, and I’m sure the Williams team have considered it as an option, but ruled it out for good reasons of their own.

        If anything, it might be better to selectively start incorporating designs from the 2017 car into the 2018 car – e.g. understand why the 2017 floor worked better, etc.

        1. It’s interesting to estimate what happened in this situation.

          I am ofc one of the biggest critics towards williams’ current drivers, but, like one of the commenters here said, stroll improved 6 tenths compared to his own q1 lap time last year, massa was 8 tenths faster, so he’s now 2 tenths off massa in q1, and massa improved a further 6 tenths in q3 compared to q1, so I wonder, how much of that gap is due to the car improvement and how much is due to stroll becoming more experienced?

          Williams must have improved a little I reckon, maybe 3 tenths and 3 tenths stroll made up on his own? In that case williams still made a disaster car this year, with 3 tenths less improvement than mclaren did (which were also bad, alonso was on course for a lowly 10th place both in 2017 and 2018 and retired due to mechanical issues on top of that).

          And massa should still be a lot better than stroll currently, probably even kubica is a little better than him and sirotkin, despite the number of years off and the injury.

          1. Sorry, 3 tenths less improvement than mercedes, 5 less than mclaren, doesn’t make it better for williams though!

  3. ”the FW41 lapped the track 0.7 seconds slower than it did last year:”
    – I think that should read ‘The FW41 lapped the track 0.7 seconds slower than its predecessor did last year.’
    BTW, China is in the wrong spot on the ‘lap time improvement in 2018’ chart.

    The 2nd smallest improvement on last season in ultimate lap time so far this season. Only SIC has seen a smaller gain on the previous season than Circuit Gilles Villeneuve even though the lap of that circuit is quite a lot longer both length and lap time-wise than this weekend’s venue’s equivalent.

  4. It’s so unfair with Williams to say their car is slower than last year’s car. It’s unacceptable journalism to simply ignore important variables, cherry-picking the data to fit your narrative.

    Stroll lapped almost 7 tenths faster with this year’s car compared to last year, which is better than Mercedes. But that doesn’t give nice click-rate headlines, does it?

    **yes, there is a joke in this post. The joke is William’s driver line-up, if that’s not clear for someone.

    1. I agree their drivers’ line up is terrible, but you’re probably not considering something: stroll, as bad as he is, must have improved a little compared to last year, no? 3 tenths? In that case the car improvement is still terrible, they’d have improved only 3 tenths compared to their potential last year, least of any team.

  5. More surprising (and disappointing): McLaren improved less than any of the Renault powered teams and less than STR (moved from Renault to Honda powered).

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