Hulkenberg: Williams 'gone' unless Haas finds 'something magic'

© XPB 

Nico Hulkenberg believes the solid progress enjoyed by Williams over the summer has put P7 in F1's Constructors' Championship out of reach for Haas unless the US outfit can find something "really magic" to turn around its fortunes.

Haas appeared to have a grip on seventh place in the standings in the first part of the season and made it its objective to hold on to the spot.

But a significant upgrade implemented by Williams on its FW45 at last June's Canadian Grand Prix delivered a strong performance boost to the Grove-based outfit which has scored solid points in four of the last seven races, including at Zandvoort and Monza, two very different tracks in terms of downforce requirements.

Haas on the other hand has lingered in the lower tier of the field, the victim of its car's perennial tyre degradation issues and the team now sits eight in the championship, 10 points behind Williams.

"To be honest, Williams, they look like they’re gone," said Hulkenberg after the Italian Grand Prix last time out.

"They and McLaren obviously made huge progress this year and I don’t see how we can turn this around unless we find something really magic.

"On the low-downforce package, once the tyre has gone through the fresh kind of tyre life, it's just one direction and that's backwards.

"We're just eating the tyre, the balance is poor, we're sliding a lot more than other cars. Can't keep the pace up, using more tyre. So, it was one of the toughest and worst races of the season."

Alfa Romeo F1 trails Haas in the championship by just a single point. Valtteri Bottas says the Swiss outfit's chances of catching Williams, which is 11 points ahead, will depend on the impact of the upgrade introduced by the team this week in Singapore.

"The last two racetracks [required] very different levels of downforce but still they’ve clearly had an edge," commented Bottas. "It’s a bit worrying, but we’ve got an upgrade for Singapore.

"If that gets us closer, then [seventh] is still possible. But if not, then it’s going to be tricky."

High-downforce venues aren't Williams' preferred territory, which implies that the team may struggle, not only in Singapore, but also at Suzuka and at Losail in Qatar.

Alex Albon who finished seventh in Italy, equaling his season-best, highlighted the importance for Williams to capitalize on its strengths on high-speed circuits such as Monza, as big points will likely be hard to come by in the back-half of the season.

"We need to use these races, these weekends to try and pull that gap from that kind of constructors’ championship point of view," he said.

"Because realistically, apart from here and Las Vegas, that’s kind of it. So we’ve got to keep pushing on and try and get these points.

"I worry about tracks like Brazil, these kinds of races," he added. "But I hope… we’re in a better place now.

"We needed that [result] because in the next few races we’re not really going to stand a chance, until Vegas. Not to say that we’re going to take our foot off the pedal, but a good points finish here was what we needed."

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