Robert Kubica revealed that he was prevented from driving the Williams car over kerbs during practice for the Australian Grand Prix due to fears over costly damage being done to the beleaguered FW42. Kubica and George Russell finished slowest on Friday, a huge margin away from the next slowest cars.
Russell's best lap time was two tenths up on his veteran team-mate, but 1.7 seconds down on 18th-placed Lando Norris – who was conversely just 1.3 seconds down on the third-placed Red Bull of Max Verstappen.
With a four-second deficit to the top of the timesheets, fears have been raised that Williams may fail to qualify due to the 107% rule – something not seen in F1 since 2012.
And Kubica confirmed that Williams' aerodynamic struggles were compounded by being forced to take limited lines across the circuit.
"Unfortunately second practice was quite a lot of compromises with some damage," Kubica told Sky Sports. "It wasn't a great afternoon. This morning we struggled quite a lot with overall grip.
"It's already difficult when it's running smooth.
"We have to stay away from kerbs, so it is not easy. Especially when you are fighting to stay on track.
"But yeah, the positive thing is the afternoon felt better. Unfortunately it was quite compromised with what is happening
"The car is difficult to drive and if you face other damages it's even more difficult.
"It's good to be here, although it sounds strange because normally if you're so slow it's difficult to find positives."
Russell said Williams' deficit was not a great surprise to the team, predicting that similar results are likely to be seen over the opening rounds of the season.
"Obviously we didn't have the best of days. The lap time is stating the fact that we're quite a long way off the rest at the moment," Russell told Sky.
"But we knew what we were in for. We know what this weekend is going to be about, and we just need to build on that.
"We knew what we were in for at this race and probably the first couple of races, and we just need to focus on building on that, and ensure come mid-season and towards the end of the year that we have something better."