Sunday, May 26, 2024

Alex Albon takes eighth after tight battle in Silverstone: “I wouldn’t have wanted that race to last one more lap”

Williams Racing’s Alex Albon converted his stunning qualifying result of eighth place into a season-best race finish at the British Grand Prix, holding onto eighth against strong competition from Scuderia Ferrari behind. 

Albon expected an intense race considering his high qualifying position, which set him up to have to hold off the likes of Fernando Alonso and Sergio Pérez to remain in the points positions. 

“It was a great weekend. When you think about the speed of the car, P8 this week is the worst position from all of our sessions this weekend. We expected the race to be a bit more difficult with Fernando [Alonso] and Checo [Perez] behind us.”

In recounting the events of the Grand Prix, Albon said that he was comfortable and pleased with the car in general, though the lack of grip on the start was difficult. Good fortune came around for him when the safety car was brought out at the “perfect” moment in the race to allow him to leap-frog Carlos Sainz.

“I struggled a little at the start as I didn’t have much grip. Once I was in the rhythm of the race, we were ok, we actually felt quite good with the car. The Safety Car came out at a perfect time. The Ferraris were on the hard compounds and I was able to get past Carlos [Sainz].”

By the end of the race, It was a close battle to seal out the final podium positions– after holding out against the Ferraris until the checkered flag, Albon said that he would’ve been in a precarious position had there been more laps to go. 

“It was a tricky race. I had better pace than Fernando which was a bit of a surprise but then Charles [Leclerc] was coming quite quickly at the end. It was a race of one eye forward and one eye back which became a bit of a dog fight. I wouldn’t have wanted that race to last one more lap.”

The relatively cool temperatures and high-speed sections of Silverstone Circuit played into the team’s performance, according to Albon, who added that they will need to continue to maximise opportunities for points at tracks that are well-suited to them as the chance for points may not always be there. 

“It’s quite clear that tracks where there’s a bit lower downforce and a lot of full throttle time, that’s all us. It’s also important that the track remains quite cool which today the track temp was dropping at the end of the race which made us a bit more competitive.

“We’re now P7 in the Constructors’ Championship tied with Haas, so we’re in a very good place. The points aren’t always available so we need to make sure that in the few races where we can score points, we capitalise on them.”

“It was the best race I’ve felt all season in terms of car performance as well as pace” – Logan Sargeant

Team-mate Logan Sargeant feels that the last few races have been a major step forward for not only the team, but his own acclimation to the series as he enters the second half of his rookie season. 

Silverstone marked career-best results across the board for the American drivers, with a top five finish in the practice two boosting confidence and a finish just outside the points in eleventh place on race day

“I’m pleased with the last two weekends. The progression has been good, and I feel like I’m getting more comfortable. I’m starting to drive the car the way it actually needs to be driven. It’s all coming to me.

“The team has been great in supporting me, pushing me and trying to help me out as much as they can. We had a great car today. It was the best race I’ve felt all season in terms of car performance as well as pace.”

Unlike Albon, Sargeant was left disadvantaged by the safety car, which he said “hurt” his campaign overall. Regardless, he was happy to see Albon have such a strong result in a car that is showing promise. 

“A bit unlucky when the Safety Car came out one lap after I pitted, that hurt a little bit. It’s still a good day and to have Alex score points for the team is amazing and shows we have a car that can fight.”

Credit: Williams Racing Media