Needing to close a gap of over 1.5s to stand a chance of fighting for a point, Claire Williams says Williams have made “bigger gains” than they anticipated in the first half of this season.
Arriving in Melbourne for round 1 of the championship, George Russell’s qualifying time put him 1.6s down on Q1’s ninth-placed driver.
While Williams first goal for 2019 was to ensure that the gap didn’t get increase, they have in fact been able to close it.
Last time out at Silverstone, Russell’s qualifying time put him 1.3s down on Q1’s ninth-placed driver.
It may look like a small step but for Williams, who have yet to score a single point this season, it is a massive stride forward.
“From the start of the season, the gap to P9 was 1.5 seconds and that is a huge amount to have to close down in the course of one season,” deputy team boss Williams told Autosport.
“A lot of teams wouldn’t find 1.5s over the course of one year so, at the start, it was about not seeing that gap get any bigger and seeing some small gains.
“I am pleased that we have made perhaps bigger gains than we ever anticipated we could.
“We have to wait and see what this new performance brings us, and we could be sat here tomorrow night going ‘oops’, but I hope that is not the case.
“After that, we will be able to judge what we can do for the balance of the year, but I hope it does make us – or propels us – back in to the fight, because the drivers want to be fighting the other teams.
“We have had a few scraps this year in the last few races with the Haas, but we want to be in the mix in the midfield and that is the work going on this year.
“But it is no mean feat trying to find two seconds of performance.”
Williams arrived in Hockenheim hoping to take another step forward with the introduction of a new floor and new bargeboard.