George Russell labelled his French Grand Prix result as “very important” but was left to rue missing out on points due to the high finishing rate.
Russell started the race from 14th on the grid and rose two places on a one-stop strategy by the time the chequered flag fell.
The result enabled Williams to re-take the ninth place in the championship it lost to Haas in Azerbaijan.
“I actually had this in the back of my mind,” Russell said. “If we’re not in the points, we need to focus on getting that P9 back in the championship.
“We obviously don’t know if Haas will score points this year or not but it’s about making sure we finish as high as possible. P12, back in P9 in the Constructors’, this is very important for the team.”
Russell nonetheless expressed frustration over not reaching the top 10, an opportunity that was hindered by the fact that all 20 drivers in the field reached the chequered flag.
Williams has spent the last few years languishing towards the rear of the pack but Russell classified ahead of both Alfa Romeo drivers, AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
“I think it was just a very well managed race with the tyres,” Russell said.
“It was incredibly difficult to balance between not going too quick and graining the tyre and not going too slow and losing the temperature.
“We did a really good job, I was really confident in the car, managing to beat the Alfas, overtaking Tsunoda on track, ahead of an Alpine.
“We don’t normally do this. It’s just so frustrating that every time we have a good race, there’s never any retirements or incidents or anything.
“This has happened three times now where we’ve finished 12th or something, we’ve had a really strong race. But it’ll come.”