Alexander Albon talks through his F1 Australian GP as he states the C2 tyres suited Williams, while Dave Robson adds on the thought process.
For Albon and Williams it proved in the end a good F1 Australian GP weekend after what had been up to then a tough time time to say the least. Teammate Nicholas Latifi crashed with Lance Stroll in practice and has been under fire since the season started.
Albon took 10th and a point for the Grove outfit after he was disqualified from qualifying due to fuel lack and had to start from the back of the grid. It ended up being a great run after he stayed on the hard tyre right up until Lap 54 when he pitted eventually.
Post-race, Albon was mystified by the performance but noted that the Williams seemingly performed well on the C2 (hard) tyres. He could do qualifying laps in the end and fend off Esteban Ocon, who had heating issues to look after himself.
“I don’t know, we need to do a bit of homework on that one as to how we did it,” said Albon to TV media. “A bit of reverse engineering. It always seems that C2 tyre suits our car. But I almost felt I was doing qualifying laps the last 30 laps of the race, it’s pretty special, it feels like….well I know for a fact, I went into the race, the strategist tells you this is our best performance.
“This is what we have to do to get the best outcome and it was 19th and 20th, it wasn’t pretty and it didn’t look pretty between 18th either and to come out P10, it is completely unimaginable. It’s a very special moment,” summed up Albon, who had to work out the strategy during the race especially after Williams didn’t stop him under SC/VSC periods.
In the course of a race, a driver has a lot to think of and work out where racing is the easy part but then there is so much else going on also. “In my head I am basically doing the strategy that they are telling me, I know my plan, I know how many laps I am supposed to be doing and I was surprised we didn’t pit, they kept leaving me out, leaving me out.
“I wasn’t asking to come in and I knew we were ok on pace. I knew from past seasons with safety cars they are great times to pit but we stayed out, but they basically said in code ‘can we go to the end?’ and I said ‘yeah we can’,” explained Albon. When he finally pitted on the final lap, his front-left was a slow one.
This meant he came out right ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Guanyu Zhou. Despite being on a colder tyres, he managed to stay ahead of the Chinese racer to secure his first point as a Williams driver. The team timed it perfectly eventually as others who stopped early started to fall through with higher degradation.
“I didn’t know how tight it would be coming out,” said Albon. “We had a slow front left change and it made it quite close to Zhou but here we are.” Post-race, onboard of Albon’s pit stop showcased VIP guests at the end of pitlane. Usually, guests are taken to under the podium on the penultimate lap. Although there was no danger but it could have been one.
It was a spirited performance and fine drive and admirable and clever performance. Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance was equally pleased with his charges result, who explained the thought process. “Alex drove brilliantly today and found a sweet spot on the Prime tyre, which gave him good pace and, crucially, much less degradation than many other cars,” he said.
“He completed a very long stint and we ignored several opportunities to pit under safety cars, hoping that something might happen to allow us to keep as many of the gains as possible. In the end, the degradation of cars behind and difficulty in overtaking gave us a small opportunity to run until the very end and pull a gap big enough for a pitstop.
“Under huge pressure, the pit crew were very good, and Alex was quick enough on the out-lap to secure tenth place. After the ups and down of the previous two days, this was an excellent result for the entire team.”
It was an excellent result for the Grove constructor. The value of it cannot be underestimated at this early stage of the campaign considering what Williams endured between 2019 and 2021 midway.
Here’s what was said on radio: https://twitter.com/WilliamsRacing/status/1513562772725895172?s=20&t=njli7ThvMmSJdAXyyOIkBw