Alex Albon, Williams, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2023

Albon had ‘best car since I joined Williams’ before retirement

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In the round-up: Alexander Albon was encouraged by his car’s performance in Jeddah despite failing to finish.

In brief

“A lot of positives” despite retirement for Albon

Albon said he had “a lot of positives to take from” the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix despite retiring when he encountered brake problems.

“It’s the best the car’s felt since my time driving at Williams so that’s very positive,” he said. “More just frustrating because we had a lot of potential in the car this weekend and we couldn’t use it.”

The FW45 felt “good all weekend”, said Albon. “It’s just in qualifying we didn’t quite get it right. But in the race, we were fine, we were back to where we normally are. We’ve been quick all weekend.”

Qualifying crucial for title hopes – Vesti

Mercedes junior driver Frederik Vesti says improving his qualifying form will be key to his chances of taking the title this year.

Vesti left Saudi Arabia fourth in the championship, five points behind leader Ralph Boschung, after winning the feature race. He placed fifth and seventh in the first two qualifying sessions of the season.

“For me the biggest decider is probably the quali,” said the Prema driver following his victory yesterday. “You cannot, in this championship, miss out on a good qualifying. If you are out of the top 10 it’s so difficult to score good points that weekend.

“So from my side it’s just focusing on consistent quali, top five, if we can have that every single weekend that would be amazing. It puts the best possibility to score points in the races and obviously in F2, anything can happen. I think that was shown today as well, from P6 on the grid you can win.”

Hamilton “still super-close” with Cullen

Lewis Hamilton says he’s still on good terms with his former physiotherapist Angela Cullen. The pair parted ways after seven years following the Bahrain Grand Prix.

“Me and Ange are good,” said the seven-times champion. “She’s going through a different phase of her life. We’re still super-close. We’ve been texting every day, she’s massively supportive and I’m massively supportive of her. So grateful to have had her with me on this journey, she’s one of my closest friends and she continues to be.”

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Comment of the day

The FIA’s handling of Alonso’s penalty left a lot to be desired:

It’s a pretty ridiculous decision to overturn the penalty. Why not just leave the rule as nothing can touch the car for the duration of the penalty. This just muddies it up even further. Can they fit the wheel gun before the penalty is up? How would that be any different?
Jordan (@Hunkulese)

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Girts, West Pearson, Adub Smallblock and Harsh Barsaiyan!

On this day in motorsport

  • Born on this day in 1972: Pedro Lamy


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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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9 comments on “Albon had ‘best car since I joined Williams’ before retirement”

  1. When I’m super close to someone, I fire them too. But seriously, I wish journalists would stop asking about this absolute non-issue. I want to interview them and ask why they changed dentists after ten years.

    The only issue anyone should be talking about is getting the Mickey Mouse SCs/VSCs under control. Even a yellow flag there would’ve been excessive let alone any type of SC. And this is not the first or tenth time they’ve had a V/SC that was this week. They started getting more cautious after Bianchi, but then around 2019 they decided almost anything needed some sort of safety car. It’s absolutely nauseating.

    1. @Nick T.
      Questionable SCs were a thing in 2020 & ’21, not before & after anymore, as no such instances happened last season, so only a one-off case.
      A yellow flag wouldn’t have been excessive, though.

    2. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      20th March 2023, 20:12

      It was mentioned in commentary the GPS data for the car was somehow wrong making it look like it was on the track.

  2. A lot of positives, yes, but I don’t get why he continued on track with a brake failure rather than pitting for the ‘inevitable’ retirement on the first available opportunity.
    Risking trackside stoppage & something further going wrong by pointlessly circling, even slowly, is unworthy & rather irresponsible.
    Did he honestly think the brake failure would magically fix itself or go away by driving slowly?
    Not the first time he’s arbitrarily decided to do something he shouldn’t have on track, following his blue flag ignorance in the last Monaco GP, even though which blue flags to obey & when isn’t up to drivers.
    I don’t get his logic in these situations.

    Re Edward Hardy’s tweet: The same point as in another article, i.e., race control shouldn’t mess up with track positions, given the available technology.

    James Parrish: Not the case on most circuits & even yesterday, only with Max’s comeback drive through the field.

    The penalty overturning possibly opens up a can of worms & sets a precedent for the future

    1. I don’t get his logic in these situations.

      I’d suggest it was more about the team buying time to try a bunch of failure modes before retiring, just to see if it fixed it.

      1. @S Good point, I hadn’t thought about this possibility.

  3. As in any statement FIA makes there is a reason behind it. It might be a stupid reason but there always is. Like now they didn’t have straight footage of Strolls car where it was. They thought it was in the middle of the road so they put out safety car.

    1. VSC along with local marshal flags would’ve sorted out any collision risk until they knew what the situation was, better that they’re equipped/prepared to actually find out though (instant access to onboards / any camera).

  4. If the retrieval Tractor hadn’t been parked so close to Stroll, he would have been able to get his car even further off the circuit negating the bad GPS signal that caused all the kerfuffle. So maybe the Race director needs to have words with all of the “Track Exit Marshalls” to make damned sure there’s enough space or cars that can still move under their own power to get full off the track – with no doubts for poor GPS.

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