Albon: Williams now in ‘a proper fight’ for points

Alex Albon qualified a remarkable P8 in Melbourne, a performance that validated once again Williams’ progress and which has now put the team in “a proper fight for points”.

After Friday’s chaotic sessions, Albon believed that Williams was in a good place, the Anglo-Thai racer showing a promising pace onboard his FW45 that extended into Saturday’s running when he earned himself an entry into Q3 in qualifying.

Upholding his momentum despite the chilly conditions, Albon concluded the top-ten shootout with the eighth fastest lap time, a performance that he said equated to a “mini-victory” and that provides Williams and himself with a reasonable shot at the points on Sunday.

“It’s a proper fight now,” he said after qualifying. “We’ve got the pace in the car, it’s only a couple tenths to the top 10, that is what we had in mind coming into this weekend and then actually we overtook those two-tenths and added a couple of tenths on top and that’s why we’re P8.

“So the motivation when you know that there’s a chance for this every weekend, it’s exciting, I live for that, the team live for that as well.

“There’s a great energy within the team to see if we can keep this on and apply the pressure with the upgrades we’ve got and let’s see.

“But for now, we’ll take the victory, the mini-victory, it’s a victory for us.”

Amid tyre degradation issues and temperature problems up and down the field in the session, Albon suggested that Williams was an outlier of sorts as its FW45 enjoyed a good grip level throughout. But managing its car’s rubber – that old black art in F1 – had also been a crucial factor according to Albon.

    2023 Australian Grand Prix – Qualifying results

“Since the very beginning of Pirelli tyres, it’s a dark art sometimes to drive quicker: you have to drive slower, as if you push limits too early in the lap you pay for it,” he explained.

“It’s not always that obvious and the lap I did in Q3 was one of those where I felt like I was on the limit but never went over it.

“I had good grip for sector three as well; all of the time when you’re up in your first two sectors you lose it in sector three because you push too hard. Today wasn’t one of those days.”

“I think when the track becomes unique, for example, look at this weekend everyone starts to struggle with the tyres. We can then spring up some surprises and do a good job.”

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