Williams was looking pretty decent in qualifying, as both George Russell and Nicholas Latifi seemed to have the pace to enter Q3. However, both of them crashed out in Q2.
Russell was on a flying lap that was going to put him in the top ten, but on the penultimate corner, the Briton lost the rear of the car and hit the barriers. The crash brought out the red flag and George was able to go back to the pits, but the mechanics could not fix the car in time.
“We all want circuits that punish you and it certainly did,” said Russell, who ended 11th quickest. “I pushed too hard. I knew that lap would have been just good enough to promote me into the top 10 at that point in time. My tires were over the limit, and I knew I had to attack the last corner to keep that speed up onto the straight – but ultimately I went too far.”
Latifi, just like his teammate, was on a flying lap, but as soon as he slightly touched the grass with the rear left, his car spun and he crashed out of the session.
“Unfortunately, my only new set was the first red flag in Q2, so that kind of wasted that set,” said Latifi. “Surprisingly at the end, I went out on another used set of tires. I was improving my lap time compared to what I did in Q1, which was on the Q3 cut-off.
“People would have probably improved, but it would have been a decent lap, so I said, ‘well nothing to lose, might lose the tires at the end, but just go for it, otherwise I’ll still be P15 anyway’. I misjudged the turn-in point and clipped the grass.”
Latifi also added that he fears receiving a penalty for a gearbox change.
“I will be surprised if we don’t take a gearbox penalty with the impact I had. Apologies to the team, as I know I left them a lot of work tonight.”
Russell, despite the crash, feels that the car is competitive and he hopes to score points for the third time in a row on Sunday.
“The car is feeling really good,” he said. “I have a good feeling. The fast and flowing section feels exceptional – it’s just the slower speed, that tight section. I’m struggling to get that groove. Tomorrow will be an interesting race, 72 laps. The most anyone has done in a row is 15 laps, so how tires will pan out over that stint will be interesting.”