Claire Williams, Williams, Hungaroring, 2020

Williams’ doubters should “be careful” as qualifying gains provide “vindication”

2020 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Claire Williams says those who doubt her team should “be careful” after both its drivers reached Q2 for the first time in almost two years at the Hungaroring.

George Russell and Nicholas Latifi qualified 12th and 15th for tomorrow’s race. It’s the first time both Williams cars have reached Q2 since the 2018 Italian Grand Prix.

“It’s clearly been a long time coming,” said the deputy team principal. “A great achievement for the team. They’ve worked incredibly hard in order to bring us to this point.”

Williams said the fact both cars progressed beyond Q1 in a dry weather session showed the team’s improvement is genuine.

“I think we demonstrated that we clearly made progress,” she said. “Today we demonstrated that, in stable conditions as well.

“It wasn’t a fluke. We didn’t have a lot of incidents or dramas to deal with. No yellow flags. We didn’t benefit from others’ mistakes.

“That was the pure result of some really great teamwork behind the scenes, working hard in practice to set the car up, learn things that they needed to. The drivers, both George and Nicholas, did a really great job.

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“It just feels really good I think for everybody and not least because this is a long time for everyone to have been away. So it is a good result, I’m so pleased for everybody in the team.

George Russell, Williams, Hungaroring, 2020
Both Williams drivers reached Q2 in Hungary
“But clearly it is Q2. We’ve got greater ambitions and we want to keep making progress and keep taking the team further up the grid.”

Williams finished last in the 2018 and 2019 championships. The team was offered for sale earlier this year in a bid to attract new investment.

“Clearly we’ve had an incredibly difficult two years and unless you’ve actually been through that experience yourself, you don’t quite understand how difficult it can really be. So now being in this position and having showed that we’ve made progress – I know I’ve used the word repeatedly now – it is exoneration, it is vindication.

“A lot of people had their doubts that this team would ever be able to resurrect itself and I think that we have proved those doubters wrong. That is why that gives me an enormous sense of satisfaction, because I’ve never believed that Williams was on its way out because we are a team of fighters.

“We’ve got an incredible team spirit and anyone that does doubt Williams should be careful because we’ve got what it takes to take this team back to where we want it to be and we will never give up until we’ve done that. And I think we’ve demonstrated that over the past couple of years.”

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17 comments on “Williams’ doubters should “be careful” as qualifying gains provide “vindication””

  1. To be honest they have set a very low bar for themselves. They should be fighting for podiums and they are happy with 12th in qualifying.

    1. Yes indeed. Glad to see progress, but surely the minimum goal is 2 cars in Q3 regularly, if not usually. Today was but one step.

      1. That’s obviously the hope of every team but for it to be their goal? Seems unrealistic.

        The reality is that Williams like Haas Alfa Toro Rossi and racing point all operate on a very limited budget compared to the other 5 teams. Controversy of racing point copying the 2019 Merc aside that generally means those teams are fighting for 5-10 in the constructors, Williams being in the middle of that second pack is probably around punching their weight.

        1. This has also come about after Williams spent at least 6 months more on this car than other teams after the dumpster of a car from last year in conjunction with Haas and Alfa Romeo falling off due to the Ferrari engine.

          It is not reassuring that they are the slowest Mercedes-powered team by far and that will continue to be the case next year after the McLaren switch. I fear they might fall back further next year if Ferrari claws back some performance from the PU.

          Not quite a vindication I am afraid.

    2. “A lot of people had their doubts that this team would ever be able to resurrect itself and I think that we have proved those doubters wrong”

      And I say that one better qualifying session does not a summer make.
      It’s fine for Claire to claim that she feels the team has made progress and maybe it has, a little, but she’s a million miles away from having proved the doubters wrong. I find her quite cringe worthy.

  2. No doubts their progress is encouraging.
    Now they need to start converting this into midfield and top-10 finishes.

    Hope they achieve this.

  3. only proves mercedes has something revolutionary on the mechanical side. last year the car was also far better in hungary than on high speed tracks, regardless I’m chuffed, there are visible improvements elsewhere on the car, it doesn’t look like it’s built of papier-mache.

  4. Bruno Verrari
    18th July 2020, 21:41

    Is this your vindication? You can’t be serious – nor a real Willy racer, if you reakky mean it..!

  5. Vindication? Comparable team Racing Point is P3.

    With inferior driver. They are beating Ferrari powered teams, who made great leap backwards from last year.

  6. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    18th July 2020, 22:15

    It’s a step in the right direction being closer to the midfield but I wouldn’t say we’re at a revival stage yet. Perhaps when they’re capable of fighting for points on merit, then sure. But its progress, which is good.

  7. It’s good seeing Williams taking steps forward. Although, it’s not as if they could sink any deeper.

    A shame that this will probably be the last year to see the Williams name on the cars. I would have enjoyed it much more if they’d be where McLaren is. Given the funds they have, they should be fighting them.

    At least they are still designing their own cars. Big respect to this legendary team.

  8. Wow.
    Best she be careful about counting chickens before they hatch …
    One swallow doesn’t make a summer …
    Even a broken clock is right twice a day …

  9. As team Principle (in reality) of Williams and carrying her name it’s her job to talk the team up. Of course Clare Williams is going to promote even a small step forward, the sponsors would expect nothing less. It’s also vitally important for the moral of the team.

  10. The biggest problem for Williams is that they dont have such a good relationship with Toto anymore. Racing Point made a carbon copy of last year W10 car with probably lot less effort and resourses than what Williams spent on designing a car from scratch, and still being 12 fastest versus podium contender for thd RP.

    And this trend of copying previous cars could also become way more frequent in the future. Haas and Alfa Romeo have tight relationships with Ferrari and Alpha Tauri is RBR. This kind of leaves Williams and McLaren on their own, the only independents to not have a top team helping them.

  11. She should be careful about so quickly pouncing on her critics just because they’ve gotten out of Q3 once for the first time in two years and after two seasons in a row running 5 seconds off the pace. Williams is my favorite team, but Claire doesn’t have the right stuff to be the team leader of a GP3 team (let alone a historic F1 team).

  12. Her biggest doubter move his resources to Force India because Williams refused to buy unlisted parts.

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