Alfa Romeo closed the gap slightly in Russia, and are still retaining hope of catching Williams for eighth place in this year’s Constructors’ Championship.
From the Hungarian Grand Prix onwards, Williams have improved considerably and collected 23 points since then with George Russell scoring in four of the last five races.
That has put them 16 ahead of Alfa Romeo, who reduced the deficit slightly when Kimi Raikkonen more than doubled their tally for the season with the four he collected by finishing eighth at Sochi.
After Hungary, where Williams opened their account for the first time since 2019 with a double top-10 finish, Xevi Pujolar, Alfa Romeo’s head of trackside engineering, said “it will not be easy, but possible” to catch up.
He added at the time: “The difference in points I think is not huge and we’ve still a lot of races to do, so I think we can do that.”
Now there are only seven grands prix remaining and while Williams have arguably progressed past Alfa Romeo in terms of competitiveness, Pujolar is not giving up.
“We keep pushing,” he told reporters. “We do our best every race and we will fight until the end of the season and we will see after Abu Dhabi if we did it [beat Williams] or not.
“At the moment, we just try to get the best of everything every time. That is it, we focus on the best of ourselves.”
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It was not a completely representative race in Russia because of the late downpour that shook up the order, but nevertheless Alfa Romeo will have been encouraged by the better result for Raikkonen as he enters the final stretch of his Formula 1 driving career before retirement.
From Williams’ side, their head of vehicle performance, Dave Robson, said there was now the opportunity for them to apply a few more risks strategy-wise given they have such a sizeable advantage over Alfa Romeo.
“I think there is some truth in that,” said Robson. “It definitely unlocks a bit of freedom. But I think we can take confidence in the decisions we’ve been taking and we can carry on with that approach, and there’s a lot of truth in offence being a good form of defence in this kind of situation.
“It’s far better that we are ahead of them and then controlling things during the race.”
Planet F1 verdict
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