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Alex Albon’s Impressive Performance Key to Williams’ Success



Alex Albon Impressive Performance Key to Williams Success

Williams shocks with impressive performance at Australian Grand Prix qualifying session, thanks to Alex Albon’s driving skills and tire management.

In the 2023 Formula 1 season’s Australian Grand Prix qualifying session, Williams made it to Q3 for the first time. Their success was attributed to the impressive driving skills of Alex Albon and their ability to handle the challenging Pirelli tires.

In particular, Williams led the midfield pack thanks to Albon’s excellent performance and their skillful management of the tires, which is crucial at Albert Park.

This circuit is known for experiencing significant variations in lap times, which are highly dependent on finding the optimal tire window. This effect is even more pronounced compared to other F1 tracks.

In the Australian Grand Prix’s Q3, Alex Albon achieved a time only 0.877 seconds slower than Max Verstappen’s pole position time, marking the closest a Williams car has come to the front in a dry qualifying session since the 2021 British Grand Prix almost two years prior.

Williams had already demonstrated a surprising level of performance in Bahrain, where Albon finished in 10th place, and in Saudi Arabia, where the FW45 exhibited the potential for scoring points.

The Australian Grand Prix qualifying session marked Williams’ most impressive performance of the year, as the team showed a significantly smaller gap to the front compared to previous races. In fact, only Red Bull, Mercedes, Aston Martin, and Ferrari were able to outpace the Williams cars.


Although Alex Albon needed some luck to make it to Q3 due to Esteban Ocon being held up by Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc in the final Q2 lap, he was able to take advantage of the opportunity and outperform Pierre Gasly and Nico Hulkenberg in Q3.

The struggle with tires was a common theme throughout the field during the qualifying session, but Alex Albon was able to overcome this challenge by attacking right from the start of his first flying lap. Although many teams, including Williams, opted to take an extra preparation lap before pushing for a timed lap, Albon’s readiness to accept the risks of what he called “sketchy driving” was crucial in building his confidence.

Albon commented on his experience, saying, “This whole weekend has been a nightmare when it comes to the first timed lap. It feels like you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone to get a decent lap time.” Despite the difficulties, Albon’s willingness to take risks allowed him to push through and deliver an impressive performance for Williams.

Alex Albon shared that, despite the challenges he faced during the weekend, he felt great when he entered the qualifying session. Building up his confidence by pushing the limits allowed him to find the grip he needed to go faster with each lap.

As a result, the qualifying session went smoothly, and the team was able to gradually improve their lap times, resulting in an impressive outcome. Albon summarized their strategy by saying, “We just went a little bit faster, a little bit faster, chipping away at it, and that was the result.”

Alex Albon’s statement about a smooth qualifying session is backed up by the fact that he consistently improved his lap times and set his best time on the final flying lap. In Q3, he had only one set of tires available, which allowed him to take a slightly different approach and complete his qualifying lap with just over three-and-a-half minutes remaining.

Key to Williams' Success

According to Dave Robson, the Head of Vehicle Performance at Williams, the team did not struggle too much to get the tires into the optimal temperature range. Williams was able to achieve this consistently, which contributed to their strong performance in qualifying.


As Alex Albon highlighted, the crucial factor in Williams’ success was building confidence in the level of grip and attacking the corners from the start of the lap, rather than holding back and driving too conservatively.

When asked about the key to getting the most out of the tires, Dave Robson explained that it was important to complete enough laps to allow the driver to get a feel for the tires. This approach helped the driver build confidence, which allowed them to push the limits and get the best lap time possible.

According to Dave Robson, the key to getting the most out of the tires was not just about getting them in the right temperature window.

It was also about the driver’s belief that both axles were in the optimal temperature range at the right time, especially for Turn 1-2. It’s easy for a driver to under-drive in that section and then realize later that all four tires were actually in a good window. However, until the driver pushes the limits of the tires, it’s difficult to be sure.

Robson noted that Alex Albon was able to consistently push the limits on his laps, which helped keep the tires in the same window. This allowed him to build up his confidence and trust in the car’s performance, which was a positive sign for the team.

Dave Robson added that once Albon had built up his confidence, the team’s main focus was managing traffic during the qualifying session. This involved finding ways to navigate around other drivers who were doing preparation laps or driving slowly, which could be challenging and required some luck.

In addition to their strong performance in managing the tires, the Williams car also seemed well-suited to the Albert Park circuit. Albon was particularly quick in the middle sector, which is mostly flat out and requires a high-speed performance. Despite having less downforce compared to other teams, Williams also showed impressive pace in the first and third sectors, setting the 10th and 12th best times respectively.


Unfortunately, Williams’ other driver, Logan Sargeant, was not able to advance to Q2 and beyond. Dave Robson explained that Sargeant’s performance was impacted by a combination of bad luck with traffic during his runs and missing the second practice session on Friday due to an electrical problem.

Key to Williams' Success

The issue with Sargeant’s car was caused by wiring ‘fretting’ on the chassis, which prevented him from participating in FP2. However, Robson believed that Sargeant could have made it to at least Q2 if he had been able to participate in that session.

During Q1, Sargeant was on a lap that the team projected would have placed him around 13th, but he lost time when the rear of his car stepped out at the entry to the last corner. This correction and subsequent wheelspin cost him valuable time and resulted in a starting position of 18th.

Alex Albon expressed his belief that Williams is now in a position to regularly challenge for minor points finishes, describing it as a “proper fight.” He stated that the team has the pace in the car and was only a few tenths behind the top 10 teams heading into the weekend.

However, the team was able to exceed their expectations by outperforming the other teams by two tenths and adding a few more on top of that, which is why they ended up in P8 on the grid.

Albon expressed his excitement and motivation at the prospect of being able to compete for points finishes in every race, which he believes is possible for Williams.

He added that the team is also excited about the prospect and that there is a positive energy within the team. He hopes that they can maintain this momentum and continue to apply pressure with the upcoming upgrades to the car. Albon views their current success as a “mini victory” and hopes to build on it in the upcoming races.


Dave Robson was cautious in his assessment of Williams’ chances at every track, stating that he doesn’t believe they will always be fighting for points. However, he remains hopeful that the team can secure a points finish in the upcoming race.

He believes that Williams is currently at a level where they can potentially compete for the last one or two points-paying positions if everything goes right. However, he also acknowledged that the team needs to be spot-on and perform better than some of the other teams to achieve this.

Dave Robson emphasized the closeness of competition among the sixth to 10th teams in the field, which can vary from circuit to circuit.

He stressed that Williams is not ready to get carried away by their success and that they need to remain focused on continuing to improve.

While he thinks the team has a chance to score points in the upcoming race, Robson also acknowledged that this could easily change in future races. Therefore, the team needs to stay vigilant and keep working hard to maintain their competitiveness.

Last year, Alex Albon secured the final point by executing an unusual race strategy, completing most of the race on his starting set of hard Pirelli tires and pitting at the end of the penultimate lap. This year, Williams is hoping to score points with a more conventional race strategy.

The team’s car has shown to be fast on the straights, with only Max Verstappen’s Red Bull being faster in the main speed trap. This should allow Albon to defend his position against faster cars.


A one-stop strategy is expected for the race, so if Albon can hold on to his position in the points at the start of the race, he should have a good chance of maintaining it until the end, even if Williams’ natural pace may be lower down the order compared to other teams who can maintain consistent lap times on long stints.

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