Williams Esports are reflecting on a positive Event 3 of the 2022 Formula One Pro Championship, a round that saw the team secure points finish in all three rounds for the first time this campaign.
One change from the first two events of the season saw F1 introduce dynamic weather to qualifying, adding an additional level of drama and skill to the event.
With the ability for qualifying to now shift from wet to dry and dry to wet, drivers were forced to be on top of the game at all times and practise for even more scenarios.
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Race 7: Monza – Daniele Haddad and Shanaka Clay
Qualifying: Daniele P6, Shanaka P16.
Race: Daniele P10, Shanaka P11.
Ahead of Event 3, the team ran a bootcamp out of the Esports Lounge at our Grove headquarters, designed to help bring the drivers together in an attempt to turn our fortunes for the season around.
Daniele and Shanaka lined up for their opening qualifying session, with the former in good qualifying form yet again, making it into Q3 and qualifying in P6.
However, Shanaka just missed out on Q2 but showed pace in qualifying which gave the team assurances the race would offer better success.
At lights out, Daniele lost a couple of positions to soft runners before being spun out by an AlphaTauri driver, leaving him last. Both drivers, therefore, decided to stay long on the hard tyre, with Daniele pitting onto the mediums on Lap 17, and Shanaka onto softs one lap later.
With multiple collisions across the field, our duo manoeuvred their way through the pack before penalties after the race left Daniele just inside the points in P10, and Shanaka just outside in P11.
A fastest lap for Daniele would double his points tally for the day in what would be the start of a points-filled week for the team.
Race 8: Mexico City – Daniele Haddad and Shanaka Clay
Qualifying: Daniele P19, Shanaka P6.
Race: Daniele P16, Shanaka P10.
A last-minute technical issue meant that the provisional line-up of Álvaro and Shanaka had to be altered, with Wednesday’s point scorer Daniele taking the place of the ill-fated Spaniard.
Daniele, who had limited practice on the Mexico City circuit put in a great lap nevertheless, only a tenth off of the pace and qualifying in P19.
It would be a day to remember however for Shanaka, who steamed through qualifying, finishing P3 in Q1, P2 in Q2 and lined up on the grid in P6.
In what would be another dry race, collisions early on split the field, with Daniele in 14th leading a pack of seven cars and Shanaka firmly in a DRS train in P11.
Realising that prioritising Shanaka was the best option, his teammate stayed out on the hard tyres for 23 laps, holding up a number of drivers and bringing the pack closer together.
Shanaka kept a clean race together and finished in P10, giving him his first points of the season as well as his first points in F1 Esports history.
With a number of penalties across the field, all the drivers were fired up ahead of Race 9, not least the one driver who missed out.
Race 9: Austin – Álvaro Carretón and Daniele Haddad
Qualifying: Daniele P18, Álvaro P5.
Race: Daniele P20. Álvaro P8.
Álvaro fixed his technical issues and went into qualifying wanting to make a statement in his only race of the event.
He managed exactly that with a P5 in qualifying, whilst Daniele could only manage a P18, another impressive effort after he jumped in to cover for Álvaro at Mexico City the day before.
In what has been a chaotic week of racing, a wet race around Circuit of the Americas added to the entertainment.
Álvaro maintained position in the first stint before a well-timed pit strategy pushed the Spaniard up to P4 in the standings.
A three-second penalty just before the track switched to dry pushed Alvaro down to P8 in the leaderboard, points which were extremely valuable to the team.
Seb Hawkins, Williams Esports team manager, was understandably pleased with the positive results earned this event, sharing: “A fantastic race week for the team saw us eradicating the mistakes we were making in qualifying and getting the car in the best position for the races.
“With more consistent appearances in Q3, we were able to execute strategy perfectly and achieve great race pace alongside.
“Performances have definitely improved as we were able to make last-minute setup changes to extract more in qualifying.
“Achieving points in all three races with all three drivers was excellent and we narrowed the gap to the teams in front.
“We will now work closely together as a team to continue to improve and if we follow the same trajectory, I believe we can be competing at the top in time for Event 4.”
Álvaro Carretón added: “I was gutted to not be able to race after a game bug on Thursday as I had great race pace.
“It was great however to be back among the points on Friday at COTA, and if it wasn’t for my penalty I would have achieved a P5 result.
“Next event we will be back stronger and we can make sure that are performances keep improving after our best week of the season.”
Shanaka Clay continued the positivity by reflecting on his maiden points finish in F1 Esports, saying: “It all finally came together for me this week and I was delighted with my performance at Mexico as we were able to combine a great qualifying strategy with great race pace.
“To get my first points in F1 Esports was a great feeling. As we take a week off ahead of the next event, I’m ready to put my head down and get some more points for the team in the final event.”
Daniele Haddad completed our reaction by stating: “It was great to finally get some points on board for the team after showing some race pace alongside qualifying skills.
“It’s been a tough week after jumping in at the last minute for Álvaro on Thursday meaning I couldn’t prep as much for Friday, but I was happy with my ability to help my teammates and guarantee some points for the team.”
The next event of the Pro Championship takes place on December 14-16, with races at Japan, Brazil and Abu Dhabi. After a much more promising Event 3, the team is confident ahead of next month’s challenges.
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