Williams remains woefully uncompetitive in F1, its drivers qualifying on average around four seconds off pole position – locking them into their own race as a mobile chicane, at the back of the field.

And while it makes for awkward viewing, with this once dominant marque at its so-far lowest ebb – it’s a much more difficult experience for the two drivers who are generally lapped twice a race.

“The pace differential is so large,” said George Russell after China, “that they come and go like I’m stood still, really.”

It’s an incredible predicament, not only given Williams’ super successful past, but with the team powered by Mercedes…

… something that surely tests the patience of all at Brixworth.

The problem is the FW42 sports another mysterious “fundamental issue,” just as its nightmare predecessor did. A puzzling gremlin compounded by the fact there’s a disparity between the cars…

… reported to be an 8 per cent difference in aero balance, front and rear, under braking despite the same settings.

All of which makes comparisons between Russell and his teammate, F1 returnee Robert Kubica difficult…

After the milestone 1000th Grand Prix in China, Russell holds the upper hand across qualifying and the races, but in Shanghai Kubica was closer in qualifying – just 28 one thousandths of a second.

A positive for the talented Pole, given the car differences, and single-lap pace his biggest weakness since his return to the sport.

In the absence of a technical director Williams has brought co-founder Sir Patrick Head out of retirement to highlight areas of improvement, but this season already looks like being a write-off.

Could Williams be set for its worst-ever campaign, in which it scores zero points for the first time in its history?