RACE DEBRIEF

    George Russell saw reason for optimism even if Williams were still adrift of the midfield teams as the ‘European season’ kicked off in Spain.

    Pre-season highlighted just what a tough time Williams were in for in 2019, with the team not having their car ready in time for the opening test and missing out on significant running. Since then they have been working to improve an uncompetitive FW42, and in Barcelona introduced a number of parts designed to provide a better future direction that Russell says proved positive.

    “It was an intriguing weekend for us,” Russell said. “We brought some test items and got some decent information from it, so another learning weekend.

    “The car is not where we want to be. But it’s not like we’re three seconds off the pace and the car feels great. The car doesn’t feel good, so there’s hope that if we improve that balance feeling, make it more driveable for myself and Robert [Kubica] then the performance should come.

    “I mean we’ve definitely gone forward, looking at the qualifying result, that’s clear. Pre-season couldn’t have gone any worse and we didn’t have an optimised car so it’s a bit unfair to back-to-back that but we’re definitely going in the right direction.”

    2019 Spanish GP
    CIRCUIT DE BARCELONA-CATALUNYA, SPAIN - MAY 11: George Russell, Williams Racing FW42 during the Spanish GP at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on May 11, 2019 in Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain. (Photo by Zak Mauger / LAT Images)

    Williams at least have reliability and two drivers who were closely matched during the race in Spain, but Russell admits his qualifying performance - where he was just 0.4s off the back of the field - was not representative.

    “I think we probably got our hopes up a bit after qualifying. I think our realistic qualifying pace was probably not as close as it was. But nevertheless we had a very interesting weekend in the sense of what we learned with the test items we brought.”

    With the two-day in-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya concluding on Wednesday, Russell confirmed Williams would run a number of experimental items as part of long-term planning for car development rather than instant performance gains.

    “No, there are no massive upgrades, just bringing some test updates to the car and focusing on the last half of the year.”

    Williams remain without a point to their name in 2019, sitting bottom of the constructors' standings.