Albon “maximised most races this year” despite single point scored to date

2023 Miami Grand Prix

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Alexander Albon believes he’s getting the most available from Williams’ car this year, despite only scoring one point so far.

The team has seldom breached the top 10 in Saturdays and Sundays so far this year. Albon made their sole Q3 appearance to date in Melbourne, which boosted his average starting position to 12.6. Rookie team mate Logan Sargeant has only reached Q2 once in conventional qualifying and has started five places further back on average.

At the seperate Baku sprint race Albon qualified seventh and finish ninth, which was not enough to add any points to the single one he picked up with 10th place in the Bahrain season-opener. Since then the team’s best result on a Sunday has been 12th for Albon in Baku.

“We still think we’re the ninth-quickest car,” Albon said at last weekend’s Miami Grand Prix. “We’re in a position now where I’m in my second year, I know exactly what I need in the car, I know all the limits of the car and I feel like I’m driving well, if I’m being totally honest.”

He believes the team has extracted the most from its package so far this year. “We are putting ourselves constantly in good positions, always doing the right strategies in qualifying. You see us always being up at the front, staying away from all the issues that everyone keeps facing in qualifying. We have clean runs, always semi-happy with my laps, and we are in a good place.”

Albon missed out on a place in Q3 by just 0.053s in Miami. He ended the 57-lap race less than 10 seconds away from finishing in the points, but down in 14th

He pointed out the contrast to 2022, when Williams generally looked less competitive but Albon was able to score two of the team’s eight points by finishing ninth in Miami.

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“Qualifying on new tyres hides limitations in the car. When you’ve got a little bit more grip, the front’s working a little bit better in low-speed, the rear is working a little bit better in high-speed.

“In the race we are falling back a little bit, but it’s close. And that’s the thing. What I would say is there’s two tenths where the car can or we can overperform and underperform. And that two tenths is what puts you into Q2, on the brink of Q3, or last.

“Compare it to last year where we do a really good job, we barely scraped through to Q2 because there was almost a half-a-second gap to chase. This year, it’s like every team is basically maximising or not maximising, and that’s where I feel like we’ve maximised most races this year.”

Williams team principal James Vowles struck a similar chord, saying there was little score to improve on Albon’s 14th place finish.

“We would have finished in the same position, irrespective of starting on that medium compound or on the hard, because it was dominated by race performance – by race pace and degradation,” he said.

“Where we ended up filtering to is approximately where the car was on performance. The extra point would have required a car that was just a little bit faster than what we had. We only finished ten seconds behind that, but that still translates to a tenth or so of performance that we didn’t have available to us at the time.”

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2023 Miami Grand Prix

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...
RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

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7 comments on “Albon “maximised most races this year” despite single point scored to date”

  1. He looks impressive to me at times before inevitably the car fades. Definitely need some strategic influences
    I like Johnny Herbert’s idea of no radio communication during the race. Talk as much as they want during FP 1/2/3 and quali, but come race time the driver needs to be able to feel/sense/know, tyres overheating, when is “my” optimal pit stop time, how many, which compounds etc..
    Seperate the wheat from the chaff as it were.

    1. @davedai A total radio ban could/would be risky in certain situations, so an unworthy consideration.

      1. Specific safety messages only allowed – nothing unsafe about that.

        It’s like people have forgotten that there were no radios at all in the past.
        How did they manage…?

  2. Stupid Pirellis. Let ’em race!

  3. Yes, he indeed has & Sargeant has fared relatively better than his predecessor, which is also good, if not perhaps even more important.
    On a side note, I find Albon’s ”ninth-quickest & tenth-quickest” references weird because more fitting wordings would be second-slowest & slowest, given the overall team amount.

    1. Hopefully Sgt will nab a good result or two during the upcoming triple-header of tracks he knows his way around.
      I guess Alex is a glass one tenth full kind of guy – good to have around at Williams – would it make the racing sound better if we started referring to Red Bull as “tenth slowest”?

  4. I believe he is getting the most of the car he can. Sometimes a car just yield when in the hands of mediocracy. For the good part, he was running very long on the mediums, but being caught in trafic was the real issue. Overall he ran faster than Hulkenberg and caught him despite running behind him when Hulkenberg had hards and Albon was on mediums and then closed in on Bottas in the Alfa Romeo whom was running out of trafic. So can’t get behind either statement – of being the 9th fastest car on the grid nor the one from Vowles about the strategy as it was very evident that hard to mediums was faster due to track temps and less trafic.
    The McLarens looked lost – they are clearly the slowest as we speak, then the Alfa Romeo’s, Haas’ and then it’s Williams. The others have just enjoyed better track positions from qualifying to get better results, but they also have better driver pairings.

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