Despite not scoring a point, it was a year of change and progress at Williams. Here are the facts and statistics from Williams’ 2020 F1 season.
For the first time in their history, in 2020 Williams failed to pick up a single point – but it was a year of some progress for the team. Williams were much closer to the rest of the field in qualifying this year, and recorded ten Q2 appearances – nine courtesy of George Russell. Russell was undoubtedly the star driver, though Nicholas Latifi would have finished ahead in the championship if not for Russell’s one-off appearance for Mercedes. Latifi recorded three eleventh place finishes, while Russell’s best result was twelfth.
Of the 1,825 laps which the team raced this year, they spent 86 in the top ten positions. Most notably, Russell missed out on his maiden points following a crash under Safety Car conditions at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Nevertheless, Russell took the most convincing win in the 2020 qualifying team-mate battles. Russell out-qualified Latifi at every round where the pair were team-mates, and qualified in twelfth place twice. Latifi qualified last on seven occasions.
Off-track it was a year of major change for Williams. The Williams family stepped away from Formula 1 in September, with the team having been acquired by investment group Dorilton Capital. Simon Roberts became the acting team principal, while Jost Capito will join the team as CEO. Despite speculation in the late summer months, Williams’ driver line-up remains the same for 2021. Will Russell and Latifi be able to bring home points next season?
- Championship Position: 10th
- Total Points: 0
- Points Scoring Races: 0
- Double Points Finishes: 0
- Best finish: 11th (x4)
- Number of DNFs: 7
- Number of DNSs: 0
- Laps Led: 0
- Laps Complete: 1825
- Total Laps Raced in the Top 10: 86
- % of Laps Complete: 87.99%
- Distance Covered: 9,191km (6th)
- Both cars in Q3: 0
- Q3 Appearances: 0
- Q2 Exits: 10
- Q1 Exits: 24
- Best Qualifying Position: 12th (x2)
- Worst Qualifying Position: 20th (x7)
- Average Gap to Ultimate Pace: 3.72% (2019: 4.51%, 2018: 3.62%)
A STATISTIC FROM EVERY GRAND PRIX
Austria: At the Austrian Grand Prix, Williams saw both cars eliminated in Q1 for a 23rd consecutive race. In better news, George Russell was only 0.073 seconds away from reaching Q2 and Nicholas Latifi’s eleventh place meant he was just short of scoring points on debut.
Styria: George Russell reached Q2 for the first time in his career, marking the first time that a Williams driver made it out of Q1 since Sergey Sirotkin qualified fifteenth at the 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix. His twelfth place was also Williams’ best qualifying position since Lance Stroll qualified in tenth at the 2018 Italian Grand Prix.
Hungary: For the first time since the 2018 Italian Grand Prix, both Williams drivers made it through to Q2. The 2020 Hungarian Grand Prix also marked the first time since the 2018 Hungarian Grand Prix that a Williams driver has appeared in Q2 at two consecutive races. George Russell qualified in twelfth place, just as he did at the Styrian Grand Prix. It marked Williams’ best qualifying result at the Hungarian Grand Prix since Valtteri Bottas qualified tenth for the team in 2016. After just three races, Williams were the only team not to have scored in 2020.
Britain: With Russell in Q2 at the British Grand Prix, this was the first time that Williams had at least one car progress to Q2 at three consecutive races since the six races between the 2017 Malaysia Grand Prix and the 2018 Australian Grand Prix.
70th Anniversary: George Russell reached Q2 for a fourth consecutive race weekend. He became the first Williams driver to reach Q2 at four consecutive races since Felipe Massa at the end of the 2017 season. Russell finished eighteenth and Nicholas Latifi finished nineteenth in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix. The result was Williams’ worst at Silverstone since their double DNF in the 1985 British Grand Prix.
Spain: The 2020 Spanish Grand Prix marked Williams’ 750th Grand Prix start. The team recorded their first double Q1 exit since the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix and in the race recorded the same result as they had done at the 2019 Spanish Grand Prix.
Belgium: George Russell reached Q2 at the Belgian Grand Prix and became the first Williams driver to progress past Q1 at the Belgian Grand Prix since both drivers appeared in the top ten in 2016. In the race, Russell recorded Williams’ first retirement at the Belgian Grand Prix since Pastor Maldonado failed to finish in 2012. With Nicholas Latifi finishing sixteenth and Russell retiring, this was Williams’ worst weekend at the Belgian Grand Prix since both drivers retired in 2004.
Italy: The 2020 Italian Grand Prix was the final race in which the Williams family owned the team. Qualifying last on the grid in twentieth, Nicholas Latifi recorded the worst qualifying result for a Williams driver at the Italian Grand Prix since Jean-Louis Schlesser qualified 22nd on his one-off appearance for the team at Monza in 1988.
Tuscany: For the fourth time in 2020, both Williams drivers were eliminated in Q1 at the Tuscan Grand Prix. George Russell qualified ahead of Nicholas Latifi. This was Russell’s 30th qualifying attempt, and he remained yet to be out-qualified by a team-mate.
Russia: George Russell qualified in fourteenth place, becoming the first Williams drivers to make it out of Q1 at the Russian Grand Prix since 2017. For a third year in a row, Williams failed to score at the Russian Grand Prix. However, their 2020 result was an improvement on last year’s double retirement.
Eifel: While George Russell qualified seventeenth for the Eifel Grand Prix, Nicholas Latifi qualified eighteenth. Williams recorded the same qualifying result in the last race at the Nurburgring, the 2013 German Grand Prix, with Valtteri Bottas qualifying seventeenth and Pastor Maldonado eighteenth. Russell was the first retirement from the race. With Nicholas Latifi finishing fourteenth, this was the third consecutive Grand Prix at the track in which Williams failed to score. The team recorded the exact same result at the track in 2011.
Portugal: Nicholas Latifi qualified last for the fourth time in his career. His twentieth position meant that a Williams driver had been eliminated in Q1 at all but one of the last 40 races. The exception was the 2020 Hungarian Grand Prix, where both Latifi and Russell reached Q2. Both drivers finished the race outside of the points. The team won all of the last three Portuguese Grands Prix, meaning that 2020 marked only the second time that Williams failed to win the Portuguese Grand Prix in the last 30 years.
Emilia Romagna: With nineteenth place, Nicholas Latifi recorded Williams’ worst qualifying position at Imola. Their previous worst Imola qualifying position was 18th, recorded by Jenson Button in 2000. Latifi also recorded Williams’ 170th Q1 exit. Crashing out behind the Safety Car, George Russell recorded Williams’ first retirement at Imola since the 2001 San Marino Grand Prix. It was Russell’s fourth retirement of the year; double the number of non-finishes he had in 2019.
Turkey: This was the third consecutive Turkish Grand Prix in which neither Williams driver qualified in the top ten nor scored a point. Nicholas Latifi retired from the race, recording Williams’ first retirement at Istanbul Park since Kazuki Nakajima in 2008.
Bahrain: For the third time in the last four races, Nicholas Latifi qualified in last place. It made 2020 the third season in a row that a Williams driver has qualified in 20th position at the Bahrain Grand Prix. George Russell out-qualified his team-mate for a 36th consecutive race and reached Q2 for the ninth time in his career. Russell’s fourteenth place marked Williams’ 190th Q2 elimination. Mercedes recorded their 115th Grand Prix victory, surpassing Williams for third in the all-time list of most Grands Prix won by a team. Prior to this race, Williams had sat third in the list since winning their 80th race at the 1995 San Marino Grand Prix.
Sakhir: George Russell replaced Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes for the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix. Jac Aitken took Russell’s Williams seat. With Nicholas Latifi seventeenth and Aitken eighteenth, this was the first time since the 2017 Bahrain Grand Prix that a Williams driver has not qualified in 20th place in Bahrain. Latifi out-qualified his team-mate for the first time in his career, out-qualifying Aitken by 0.096 seconds. In the race, Latifi recorded Williams’ first retirement in Bahrain since Lance Stroll failed to finish the 2017 Bahrain Grand Prix.
Abu Dhabi: For the third year in a row, Williams recorded a double Q1 exit at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. This was only the second time that Williams recorded double Q1 exits at two consecutive races in 2020. Nicholas Latifi equalled his worst qualifying result of the season, qualifying 20th for the seventh time. With George Russell qualifying in eighteenth place, ahead of Haas’ Fittipaldi, this was the first time since 2017 that Williams have not set the slowest two times in qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its sixth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and GPDestinations. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.