Williams Racing’s Nicholas Latifi said that the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit on Sunday was tough after he crashed hard with four laps remaining of 58 lap race and speaking following the action he said:
It was a tough race out there today and we were struggling for pace throughout. Towards the end of the Grand Prix, I was racing with Mick Schumacher and was forced slightly wide, but fairly, at Turn Nine. My tyres got dirty from running off track and I subsequently made a small mistake and unfortunately crashed. This obviously wasn’t how I wanted to end our season, so it’s disappointing.
George Russell retired from his final race with Williams before moving to the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team replacing Valtteri Bottas next season and speaking following the race he said:
We had a gearbox issue which ultimately ended our race and may have been caused by something flying into the airbox. We need to review whether that was the case but there’s nothing we can do about that, so it’s unfortunate to finish our season in that way. The important thing though is that we sealed P8 in the Constructors’ Championship, which was much more than we could have hoped for this year and was our goal at the start of the weekend. I’m proud of what we’ve achieved as a team and I’m grateful to everyone at Grove for their hard work.
The Williams Racing Team ended the year in eighth place in the championship and speaking following the race, head of Vehicle Performance Dave Robson commented saying:
A very frustrating way to end the season with both cars failing to finish the race. George was unfortunate to collect some litter or a visor tear-off in the cooling duct, which we wouldn’t have been able to remove at a pitstop. We managed the high temperatures for a long time on track but in the end, we couldn’t prevent the gearbox from overheating and forcing us to retire the car.
Nicholas was embroiled in a tight battle with Schumacher but despite several attempts to overtake and some robust defending from Schumacher, he couldn’t make the pass stick and eventually made a mistake in the dirty air and hit the wall.
It wasn’t the way that we wanted to secure our Championship position; however, we can still be proud of the work we did earlier in the year which got us into a strong position. Our attention now turns to the test next week followed by a well-earned rest over Christmas before we regroup to tackle the new season. Congratulations to Red Bull, Mercedes, Max and Lewis who have fought hard throughout the year and given us one of the most thrilling Championships for some time.