It was another ‘what could have been’ weekend for Williams at Imola as George Russell and Nicholas Latifi retired from the race following collisions with competitors.
Saturday was a good day for the Grove-based team as both their drivers made Q2 for the first time since last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
“Both drivers have been really good right from the off,” said Robson according to RaceFans.Net. “Nicky [Latifi] was very quick on Friday. Qualifying couldn’t look a lot better. Obviously, Tsunoda made a mistake, which was a gift for us, but otherwise all the places we got were achieved on merit.”
George Russell was running in P10 for the second consecutive year at the iconic Italian circuit when he crashed once again. This time he was involved in a huge accident with Valtteri Bottas. Robson admits it’s ‘deeply frustrating’ to leave Imola empty-handed.
“Today we really thought we had a good chance to score some points,” Robson conceded.
“The mixed conditions obviously at the start were not really ideal, but actually I think we took them in our stride, we made some good decisions. Then to finish with nothing is obviously deeply frustrating.
“I suppose one of the positives is the car was the pace, was good. At least George, the accident came as a result of us attacking, and of all the cars to attack, it was the MGP [Mercedes], which is not something we’ve been able to do for a long time.”
While Toto Wolff believed Russell shouldn’t have tried to overtake Bottas when he did, Robson said Russell was absolutely justified to attack the Mercedes; the Brit had his dry tyres in a better operating window at the time.
“We had the slicks a couple of laps longer than the Valtteri so I think we had them in a good window, the grip was good, more than Valtteri had, I think. And we had a good straight-line speed and DRS had just been activated so George had a really good chance to get past him and he took it, rightly so.
“Then I think he just touched the white line which in those conditions was still a bit slippery and at that speed unfortunately that was the end, the spin and into Valtteri’s car.”
Nicholas Latifi was running in P12 on the opening lap when he spun into turn 12. On rejoining the circuit, he unknowingly squeezed Nikita Mazepin; the pair made contact and the Canadian ended up in the wall.
“Conditions were definitely tough out there,” said Robson. “It’s a bit strange to have quite a lot of standing water and difficult wet conditions in a few corners and other parts of the track actually quite dry.
“I think it was just a small misjudgement on his part caused him to spin and then he thought he was rejoining a clear track and the whole of the pack had gone past, had a bit of contact with a Haas and that was him in the wall, unfortunately. It’s just a real shame.”
It was one of those days today but that's racing sometimes.— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) April 18, 2021
Onwards to Portimão 🇵🇹 pic.twitter.com/fUgE0bmWrG