2018 team and drivers review: Williams
A look back at how the Williams drivers and team fared in the 2018 season. This turned out to be a season to forget for the team based at Grove as their steep decline continued. It made it a very tough year for Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll.
Constructors’ championship | 7 points (10th)
Not surprisingly, Williams finished last in the teams’ standings following a disastrous season for them.
It became quickly clear that the design of the car was flawed and they would be bringing up the rear of the field at most circuits through the year. A perfect example of those things occurring all at once came at Silverstone when both cars were pitched into the gravel lap in Q1 due to aerodynamic stalls.
They only collected points at Baku and Monza which highlights just how bad the car was.
This will be a critical winter for the British squad as they don’t want to end up comfortably at the back of the field again in 2019. A completely new driver line-up can’t mask the issues they’ve had in recent seasons.
Lance Stroll | 6 points (18th)
After struggling massively in qualifying last year in a midfield car, the Saturday nightmares continued for the young Canadian in 2018.
2 years into his time in F1 and he’s been outqualified by a team-mate 28 times out of a possible 39. This year he lost out 8-12 to Sergey Sirotkin showing his big problems over one lap have not been resolved. Having such a bad car probably hid this somewhat.
His best moment on a Saturday happened at Monza when he did a superb job to make Q3. He’ll need a lot more of that next year.
On a Sunday, however, there were some more encouraging signs.
Stroll was the driver who gained the most places on lap 1 of races in 2018: He achieved a total of 36, including SIX at the Chinese Grand Prix where he climbed from P18 to P12. Of course, it’s easier to do it when you start towards the back – but to consistently do it and show good race craft on a regular basis is impressive.
Unfortunately, a lack of pace from the car meant these starts couldn’t be capitalised on because of the inherent problems with the W41.
The Canadian’s points scoring finishes were at Baku (P7) and Monza (P8).
With a move to Racing Point (Force India) now confirmed, 2019 will be a massive test for Stroll against a quality and experienced racer, Sergio Perez. We’ll find out a lot about him and his ability then.
Sergey Sirotkin | 1 point (20th)
He wasn’t a popular choice over Robert Kubica amongst most F1 fans for 2018 but Sergey Siroktin proved he has a lot of ability across the year and probably deserved a second year in the sport.
Again, like Stroll, it was difficult for him to display his qualities because the FW41 had serious problems. However, he shined a number of times through the season.
Monaco (P13), Germany (P12) and Brazil (P15) were three outstanding qualifying performances from the Russian driver in 2018. He defeated his stablemate in the head-to-head 12-8.
His only point came at the Italian Grand Prix thanks to Romain’s Grosjean disqualification from the race. Sirotkin may have scored some points in Baku if he hadn’t got involved in a collision with Fernando Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg on the opening lap.
The Russian showed his mettle at the Singapore GP as he valiantly held off Sergio Perez for a number of laps and then got involved in a scrap with Grosjean. It proved he could race fairly and cleanly against established drivers.
He’ll have been sorely disappointed to miss out on a drive for next year, but Sergey can hold his head high following a very solid rookie season in the sport.
With his highly regarded technical feedback and work ethic, the Russian will surely be back in F1 or join another motorsport category at some point in the near future.
Stroll vs Sirotkin
Qualifying head-to-head: 8-12