In recent years, it has become impossible to count how many times Williams claim that they will bounce back up the grid, with a new upgrade or change to the car. 2010 has been no different, with lacklustre performances all throughout the season, despite a good line-up of drivers, or so it would seem.
Nico Hulkenberg needs to improve if Williams are to make progress
Actually, at the start of the season, it didn’t seem this way. Rubens Barrichello qualified 9 tenths off Sebastian Vettel’s time, and nearly got through to Q3. In the race, Rubens was 10th, scoring one point, while GP2 champion Nico Hulkenberg was 14th. However since then, their form hasn’t improved. Despite a few points finishes, their pace has been consistently mediocre, and a small amount of retirements highlights this fact.
After the loss of Nico Rosberg to Mercedes, Williams must have known that it would have been difficult to finish many races in the points like they did last year. His replacement, Barrichello, has finished 4 races in the points, while Hulkenberg has only one, with a solitary point in Malaysia. Since then, Hulkenberg’s best finsish was 13th in Canada, well below what would be expected of the reigning GP2 champion.
After Rubens finished an excellent 4th in Valencia, which was aided by the safety car, has has 19 points to his tally, while Nico has only one. I think that Rubens is doing as well as he can, whereas Nico needs to seriously up his game to help push Williams through the field. His pointless crash in Spanish practice showed that he trying very hard, but needs to be more mature in the car.
So far, Williams’s performance has been quite disappointing this year. Their progress for the 2010 season depends on 2 factors: better development of the car, and Hulkenberg. Williams are set to unveil their new exhaust-blown diffuser at Silverstone, which will provide another performance boost to the car. It is up to the drivers – especially Hulkenberg – to make the most of it.