Williams made a ‘real point’ with very first lap

Date published: February 19 2020

George-Russell-aero-Williams-leads-McLaren-test

Last year Williams only left the pits after lunch on Day 3, this year the team was the very first out on track as pre-season testing began in Spain.

2019 was a nightmare season for Williams. Not only did the team miss valuable track time in testing but, once underway, it was evident that the FW42 was lacking in every department.

This year Williams vowed to be first on the track and George Russell was.

The British driver, entering his second season in Formula 1, overtook Carlos Sainz at the end of the pit lane to put in the first official lap of the 2020 pre-season.

It may be something small but for Williams every step in the right direction is worth celebrating.

Deputy team boss Claire Williams told Sky F1: “It was brilliant to see it go out first this morning.

“We wanted to make a real point after last year’s dramas that we were here and ready to go and we just wanted to get today done and under our belts.

“It’s going well so far, it’s good.”

Russell covered 73 laps in the first four hours of testing with a best time of 1:18.168 on the medium tyres.

He handed the FW43 over to new signing Nicholas Latifi for the afternoon session with the Canadian adding 63 laps.

“It’s an awful lot calmer,” admitted Williams.

“Coming into the garage last night, there was hardly anyone here as everything was ready to go and last year there were 20 people trying to get the car ready and it just wasn’t.

“It’s a whole lot different. We’ve got a great team of fighters here and the very fact that we’ve learnt our lessons, it certainly takes the pressure off guys here.”

While Williams’ best time last season was a 1:20, the team has already shaved two seconds off that on the opening day of this year’s test.

“Progress [is the target],” she added. “We have to make progress.

“This has always been a journey getting Williams back to where we want it. We’ve not set clear targets, it’s so difficult to do that when you don’t know where the competition is.

“We’ve just got to keep driving the road of positivity and driving performance. We need to tick everything off our to do list so we’re in the best possible place for Melbourne to show the world that Williams is here to stay and we’re still fighting.”

Follow us on Twitter @Planet_F1 and like our Facebook page.