Williams in the points as six drivers retire – The Hungarian Grand Prix
Nicholas Latifi and George Russell have scored their first points for Williams in their F1 careers, after enduring a wild and wet race.
The collision at turn 1, lap 1 involving Bottas’ lock up, caused a domino effect of F1 cars crashing into each other. On the same lap, Stroll swerved to miss a collision with an Alpine, instead hit Charles Leclerc. This and Bottas’ crash meant a red flag was issued three laps into the 70-lap race, positioning Nicholas Latifi in P6 and George Russell in P8 amongst the carnage they managed to stay clear of.
As the formation lap begun to restart the race, the wet conditions grew stronger; Russell radioing to the team that “at this rate, everyone is going to pit” – to put on slick tyres. And the Saturday superstar, who failed to make it into Q2 the first time this season in Saturday’s qualifying, was almost right. The remaining drivers except for Lewis Hamilton pitted, leaving Hamilton to start alone on the grid whilst the other 14 drivers started from the pitlane, Esteban Ocon leading them out.
Light’s out and Russell undercut in the pitlane to gain P2 but was called to take back the positions he had gained, pushing him down into P7, behind his teammate Latifi who climbed the ranks to P3 as Hamilton dropped to the back of the grid. Russell then graciously radioed to the team to focus on Latifi and said he would be willing to compromise his race to support his teammate.
Nikita Mazepin quickly retired after the restart because of a collision that happened in the pitlane. The Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen was released unsafely. Consequently, Mazepin collided with Raikkonen, causing damage to his car and a 10 second penalty for the Alfa Romeo. This compromised both races as Mazepin retired and Raikkonen finished outside the points, with his teammate Giovinazzi.
Both cars performed a two-stop race (the first happening under the red flag). Russell pitted first on lap 21 to change from medium compounds to hard compound tyres. Latifi then joined Russell in tyre choice as he pitted on lap 23. Both pit stops were smooth as the pit crew did fantastic jobs.
Over halfway into the race, and both Williams cars were in strong positions on a track that is notoriously hard to overtake on. Both cars held off teams that ‘should have been’ in front – Verstappen (Red Bull) and Hamilton (Mercedes). Though they were eventually pushed to the bottom of the top 10, both cars finished in front of a Red Bull, McLaren and the two Alfa Romeo’s. Nicholas Latifi crossed the chequered flags in P8, in front of his teammate George Russell in P9 – both the highest positions either driver has ever finished in Formula One. An incredible finish for the team, as the summer break awaits them with celebrations!
Happiness swarmed the Williams team as engineers, press officers, supporters, and everyone else cried and hug each other; the joy of winning points for the Constructors’ championship was too emotional for Russell to put into words during his interviews afterwards.
News came to light later this evening that Sebastian Vettel has been disqualified from the Grand Prix because he was 0.7litres under the limit when the stewards checked the car. This disqualification is being challenged by Aston Martin, but if they fail to overrule the disqualification, then the Williams cars will move up into P7 and P8, making their total winning points add up to 10!
Williams’ last points finish was in 2019, when Robert Kubica won them one point. Since then, there has been none. Today, Williams scored six points!
Williams Racing is on the rise, and they have only just begun.