Although Williams left the Red Bull Ring without a point, Claire Williams feels George Russell’s Q2 performance answered the doubters.
The team worked hard over the winter to improve its pace, all the while facing criticism from pundits with the likes of Jacques Villeneuve putting the blame squarely on deputy team boss Williams’ shoulders.
“What I find sad is how the team has been managed in recent years. But given the management it’s no surprise where they are now. It makes sense. I think it’s somehow justified that it’s so bad now,” said the former Williams driver.
“It would be a shame if a team with such a name and glorious past would be successful, even though it is so badly run. They deserve it.”
Bottom of the log two years running, and scoring just eight points in total, Williams entered the 2020 championship hopeful that the new FW43 would be a step in the right direction.
Williams just missed out on a point at the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix with Nicholas Latifi P11 of the 11 drivers to finish the grand prix.
Russell followed that up with a Q2 showing in the wet in qualifying for the Styrian Grand Prix, the Brit missing out on Q1 by less than a tenth of a second.
Williams feels vindicated.
“Two years, I suppose in real terms, isn’t a whole lot of time,” she told Motorsport.com, “but in F1, it’s a hugely long time.
“And when we’ve got 22 races that we’re going to and you end up dropping out of Q1 and never scoring points, it’s been a really painful two years. The last time we were in Q2 was Brazil 2018.
“So [qualifying] feels like vindication for us.
“We told everybody, we promised that we were working in the background doing everything we needed to to turn this team around.
“We’ve also had some doubters, and I hope that what we’ve done is demonstrate that we deliver on our promises.
“We know we still have a lot of work to do, but it does feel good that we are putting in the performance, to show that we’re moving our car and our team back up to where we want to see it.
“I think everybody’s efforts at Williams, whether that be trackside or at the factory, have really come together over the past weeks and months, and certainly over the past 12 months.
“Even just the work that’s been going on behind the scenes between these two Austrian races has been really quite impressive.
“We’ve managed to resolve a lot of the issues that we found in Austria one, that now are on the car and bringing more performance.”
Unfortunately for Russell a mistake while battling Kevin Magnussen early in the dry race dropped him to the back of the field and he wasn’t able to recover.
Williams left the Red Bull Ring without a point on the board.
“I think let’s just take each race as it comes, and I know they’re coming,” Williams said of the team’s search for its first point of the championship.
“I know those points are on their way to us, and it will be an incredibly happy day when they arrive.”