Williams driver George Russell is expecting the team to struggle at the upcoming Belgian and Italian Grand Prix, as he believes they will lack the straight-line pace required to be competitive at Spa and Monza.
“Even though we have the strongest engine in the back, we are by far the draggiest car on the grid,” the British driver said.
“That is why you’ve seen us go really strong in Budapest in the last two years, because it is not a power sensitive circuit as such.
“Even though we have a lot of power, we’re not really utilising it, because we have so much drag on the car.”
Russell added that the other two Mercedes-powered teams – the Mercedes works team and Racing Point – have a huge straight-line speed advantage over Williams because their cars produce far less drag.
“Even though on paper you think ‘well, we have a Mercedes, we should be flying in Spa and Monza’, it’s not the case. Unfortunately, aerodynamically we have a really poor efficiency in the car. And that will actually make it really tough for us.”
Despite failing to pick up a single point so far this season, Williams have had some encouraging results and are looking slightly more competitive this year.
Russell said the fact that they are within touching distance of Alfa Romeo and Haas serves as extra motivation for him and the entire team.
“It’s motivation, for all of us. We don’t want to be here fighting for the latter positions.
“But the fact that we are on par with the Haas and the Alfas – they probably still just have the legs on us – but they are really within striking distance.
“It adds that extra motivation for me as a driver, the team to really try and get everything out of it,” he said.
Continuing, he said it’s important that they further develop the car to try to get back into the “B class” instead of just focussing on beating Alfa Romeo and Haas in the “C class” of Formula 1.
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