Williams Racing will pick up exactly where we left off in Las Vegas 41 years ago. That day at Caesars Palace, it was a P5 and P6 finish which is where we’ll be lining up on the grid for the race on Saturday night.
For the first time since 2016, we will have cars starting in the top six for a Grand Prix after a stellar Qualifying effort from Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant, who qualified P6 and P7 respectively, but will climb to the third row once penalties are applied.
The evening started strongly, with Logan in P3 and Alex in P6 after FP3, but that session was brought to an early climax after Alex tagged the wall at T5.
When we eventually got the car back, we surveyed the damage, made the relevant repairs and got ready to race the stopwatch.
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Having successfully negotiated Q1 in P12 and P14, sights were set on getting both cars into Q3 for just the second time this season.
On their final push in the second phase of Quali, our duo delivered again with Alex in P6 and Logan in P9.
Only two teams managed to get both of their cars through to the top-10 shootout – Williams Racing and Ferrari.
The team opted to execute one push lap in Q3, heading out at the end of the session when the track was at its best.
Alex recorded a 1:33.323 for P6 with Logan just behind in P7 after the American record a 1:33.513, but both will climb a spot come lights out when Carlos Sainz serves his 10-place grid penalty.
Our Quali results before grid penalties are apllied.
We executed very well today,” Alex said, adding: “We’ve known this track was going to suit us but it’s always a bit scary coming in when there’s a bit of hype and pressure, so I’m really happy with how that went.
“I’ve been struggling with the brakes all weekend and after my off in FP3, I had to reset my confidence a little bit.
“I also just want to say thanks again to the team for their hard work in getting the car ready for Qualifying.
“Tomorrow is going to be all about the graining, with cars that suffer probably going a second and a half slower, and vulnerable to anyone overtaking.
“We did have some graining on Friday, but we’ve made some setup changes that should hopefully help mitigate this.
“I’m obviously excited for Logan as well, so to be starting P5 and P6 due to penalties, we now just need to finish it off tomorrow.”
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Logan was understandably delighted to have secured his best-ever Qualifying result, sharing: “Today felt really good from FP3 onwards. I’m very happy to execute over three separate sessions and finally extract the potential that we’ve had.
“To do it here in Vegas is extra special which is highlighted by the fact we have a great car here.
“It’s not easy to deliver on that performance, so the fact we’re able to continuously do that throughout the session is awesome.
“It’s been a great day for the team and congrats to everyone. We’ve worked hard and knew this weekend was a good opportunity and we’re off to the right start.
“Most importantly we have two cars near the front of the grid.
“We have a very annoying car down the straights for others, so we’ll try and use that to our advantage. Hopefully, we can continue this level of performance and have a strong race.”
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance, concluded our reaction from the Las Vegas Strip Circuit by saying: “We had an excellent result today with both drivers completing a brilliant qualifying session.
“The car was working well and both drivers were able to make the most of that to get into Q3 and qualify in very strong positions for the Grand Prix.
“Q1 was a little closer than we had anticipated, with the decision to get Alex into Q2 using only a single set of Soft tyres becoming riskier than we had expected.
“However, he held his nerve and completed a good final lap on tyres that were past their best. Logan used a 2nd set in Q1 and qualified more comfortably. Both eased through Q2 and put themselves in a great position to push hard in Q3.
“Following Alex touching the wall in FP3, the team had to work extremely hard to get his car ready for Q1, but they tackled the work very well and gave him a great car that he could take into Qualifying with confidence.
“The result is a fair reward for the continued dedication and efforts of the team in Las Vegas and in Grove; supporting this race from the UK is as demanding as dealing with jetlag and the team there have supported the trackside team expertly throughout this week.
“Today has been good, but the result needs to be secured tomorrow, and we now need to convert the single-lap pace into solid race pace.
“The work we did overnight should help improve the tyre management, which should give us a good opportunity to fight for good point-scoring positions with both cars.”
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