Williams: The Sochi track is always a tough challenge

Williams report from day one of the Russian Grand Prix weekend, Round 16 of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship, at Sochi Autodrome.

Dave Robson, Senior Race Engineer: “The Sochi track is always a tough challenge and getting the most out of the tyres here can be especially tricky. Overall our day was quite quiet as we worked methodically through our programme.


“Both drivers looked at some test items in FP1 before settling on our preferred specification for FP2. We were keen to complete a thorough programme in FP2 on both low and high fuel as the weather for tomorrow looks poor and so today could be our last chance to finalise the race preparation for Sunday, when the weather looks better.

“We have a little more to do to understand how to maximise the tyre for a single lap in qualifying, but this is something that we can work on tonight.”

“George had a good day and made good progress throughout the sessions and was able to build on his previous experience of driving here in F2. Robert had a more difficult day with his first experience of driving in Sochi beset by a feeling of inconsistent grip and balance. We will look through the data and understand what the cause of this was and we will change any suspect components ahead of running tomorrow.

George Russell: “It was a bit slippery out there, but I think it’s like that for everyone. I’m not the greatest fan of this circuit. It’s low grip and with all the run off areas it’s not quite as daunting as some other circuits, but it was ok and as we expected.

“We weren’t quite as good on the new tyres as we should have been. We did our fastest lap on our third lap, rather than the first one, so there is room for improvement. We’re quite slow on the straights and this track has a mighty one to start with, so that’s not helping us at all. Our performance today wasn’t as good as it could have been, and we should be closer than the laptimes suggest.

Robert Kubica: “Sochi is a new track for me, so it is always nice to experience new challenges with different layouts. However, today was one of hardest days behind the wheel, in terms of the balance and overall grip.

“This is the kind of track that you must carry a lot of speed and the corners are short. You need good stability on entry and confidence in the car, which we do not have yet. We must check the data and hopefully we can improve for tomorrow.