Sargeant rues “millimetre mistake” as crash mars best qualifying

2023 Dutch Grand Prix

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Williams driver Logan Sargeant says he was just a millimetre off-line when he crashed during his first appearance in Q3.

The rookie reached the top ten shoot-out for the first time in his career during qualifying for the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort. However, after posting his first lap of the session on a drying track, Sargeant spun off at turn two, crashing hard into the barriers and damaging his car.

Despite the shunt, Sargeant is still set to start from 10th on the grid – his best starting position of his career – having been fortunately unhurt in the accident. He admitted the crash had been his mistake on the damp track.

“This track is tight, narrow,” he said. “There was barely one car width of a dry line and all it takes is to be a millimetre off line and there’s no saving it.

“The last thing I ever want to do is leave the team with a boatload of damage, but I’m doing my best to deliver good results.”

Sargeant said there had been “so many positives” from his weekend leading up to the accident.

“Yesterday in the dry, I feel like I was really pretty much right there,” he said. “I think long run pace was really good. We’ve had the car in a great window – even Q1, Q2.

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“I missed a little bit of pace today in the wet, but I think the biggest positive for me is delivering laps when I needed to. That’s something I’ve lacked this year and to be able to do that has been really nice today. But it’s all just shattered by a millimetre mistake.”

Saturday in Zandvoort saw rain affect a grand prix weekend for the eighth successive round. Sargeant admitted the regular wet sessions had proven a challenge.

“Every time I step foot in the car, every time I get belted in, I do the best I possibly can,” he said. “We’ve had probably the most difficult European leg I can think of in forever with mixed conditions. That doesn’t make my life any easier. But it’s also no excuse.

“I personally see the progress. I know those mistakes are costly – it’s not what I’m trying to do, of course. Moving forward, I have to dial those out, that’s for sure. [It’s] essential.”

Williams have usually been strongest at low downforce circuits like Spa-Francorchamps and Monza, where F1 will race next week. However the FW45 has looked strong all weekend, with Albon securing his best ever grid slot for the team in fourth place. Sargeant admitted even Williams could not explain why they seem so strong.

“I don’t think we’re completely sure,” he said. “We didn’t expect this to be a great one for us, but I think it’s important to understand why. So that’s something we’ll dig into.”

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However he admitted to feeling “mixed emotions” after his crash. “It’s definitely bittersweet.

“I think, from my point of view, I need to look back at it, see what I did wrong first of all – see if it was just a tiny mistake that was unavoidable, or if it was a mindset thing. I haven’t quite understood it yet, but I need to figure that out and then not dwell on it because our long run pace was great yesterday.

“Hopefully they get the car rebuilt as close as we can and try to utilise that with the good long run pace that we had and try to score some points.”

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2023 Dutch Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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2 comments on “Sargeant rues “millimetre mistake” as crash mars best qualifying”

  1. His error was unfortunate, but at least the outright pace is okay, so hopefully, his damage won’t prove too severe to necessitate a monocoque change or anything other that would force a pit exit start instead of P10.

  2. “Sargeant rues “millimetre mistake”

    If you wanted to make it sound more dramatic, and accept that there is a finite point at which you go from maintaining grip to losing it, why not say it was a “nanometre mistake”.

    ….. or just accept that off line is off line.

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