Haas’ chances of catching Williams ‘very small’

Jon Wilde
Nicholas Latifi (Williams) and Mick Schumacher (Haas), Portuguese Grand Prix. Portimao May 2021.

Nicholas Latifi (Williams) ahead of Mick Schumacher (Haas) in the Portuguese Grand Prix. Portimao May 2021.

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has conceded Williams’ big points haul at the Hungarian Grand Prix will be very difficult to peg back.

In the three-way battle for eighth position in the Constructors’ World Championship, Williams made a huge statement with their first double points finish since 2018.

A chaotic race that saw the removal of several podium candidates from contention in the early stages was always going to have some unusual beneficiaries – and it was Williams who cashed in.

Nicholas Latifi and George Russell were classified seventh and eighth respectively after Sebastian Vettel’s disqualification – and even if Aston Martin’s appeal succeeds, it would still leave Williams on a more-than-useful six points rather than the 10 they currently have.

In context, the worst-case-scenario for the Grove-based squad would be a lead of four points from Alfa Romeo and six over Haas, who have yet to get off the mark.

Points for each of those teams have been difficult to come by this season – in eight of the 11 races so far, all three have failed to score.

Although Alfa Romeo have expressed optimism that they can still catch Williams over the second half of the campaign, Steiner is much less hopeful as far as Haas are concerned.

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Asked about his team’s chances of avoiding last place in the standings, Steiner, quoted by Speedweek, said: “They are very small.

“Williams didn’t expect this blessing in terms of points, but they did a good job and were in the right place at the right time.

“That’s how it goes in racing sometimes. That’s why I always say you always have to do your best.

“They were ready when there was a few points up for grabs and that’s why they were able to strike. But I’m not betting on that happening to us.”

One particularly galling incident at the Hungaroring for Steiner occurred when Nikita Mazepin was put out of the race by an incident in the pit lane as Alfa Romeo released Kimi Raikkonen into the path of the Haas.

“Of course it’s disappointing because it was so unnecessary,” said Steiner. “Sometimes things like that happen that shouldn’t happen.

“It would have been tricky to score points even without the crash. But Nikita missed the opportunity to finish a race where he could have learned a lot. And that’s what we are about at the moment.”