Alfa Romeo think catching Williams is ‘possible’

Date published: August 5 2021 - Jon Wilde

George Russell's Williams. Hungary August 2021.

Alfa Romeo admit Williams’ unexpected points haul at the Hungarian Grand Prix will be difficult to peg back, but “it’s possible”.

For the second consecutive F1 season, three teams are adrift at the bottom of the Constructors’ World Championship standings, namely Alfa Romeo, Williams and Haas.

Last year, they bagged a total of 11 points between them across the 17 races, Alfa Romeo coming out on top of that trio with eight, ahead of Haas (three) and Williams (zero).

Pickings had been similarly slim this term until round 11 at the Hungaroring, where Williams suddenly made a big leap with their first double points finish since 2018.

Chaos at the start and restart played into the Grove-based team’s hands and after Sebastian Vettel was disqualified – pending appeal – Nicholas Latifi and George Russell found themselves classified seventh and eighth in the race respectively.

That gave Williams their first points for over two years – 10 of them, which put them seven ahead of Alfa Romeo in the chase for P8 in the championship with Haas still to open their account.

Xevi Pujolar, Alfa Romeo’s head of trackside engineering, had ironically said in the build-up to Hungary that his team had to “try to control Russell”, seeing him as the danger man, but it was Latifi who was the bigger scorer of the pair in Budapest.

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Nevertheless, Pujolar believes Williams can still be caught despite their bumper haul – and expressed relief that their total was only 10 as it had threatened to be higher earlier in the race.

“It will be not easy but I think it’s possible,” said Pujolar, quoted by Motorsport.com, about catching Williams.

“We’ll try. I think at the end of the day it would have been much worse from where they were at the beginning [of the race] so I’m still happy about it.

“The difference in points I think is not huge and we’ve still got a lot of races to do, so I think we can do that.”

As Pujolar rightly pointed out, there could still be up to 12 races for Alfa Romeo to bridge their deficit and they have been knocking at the door this season by finishing 11th four times and 12th on a further three occasions.

“I think under normal racing conditions we could not achieve it in one go, but if we have still multiple races to go then this is achievable,” added Pujolar.

“We have many races to do yet and I think if we can put both cars in Q2 after the shutdown, we can do that probably.

“On a few occasions, I think we can score points. I would say it would be more difficult for [Williams to score points].”