Report: We leave Australia empty-handed

Published on
02 Apr 2023
Est. reading time
4 Min

Logan Sargeant classified in P16 whilst Alex Albon retired early following an accident

The 2023 Australian Grand Prix was a race of attrition with just 12 drivers seeing the chequered flag, but sadly for Williams Racing, neither Alex Albon nor Logan Sargeant were running at the end.
Our race had started strongly, with AA23 running in P6 and LS2 up to P17 as the Safety Car was deployed for the first time, allowing for the retrieval of Charles Leclerc’s beached Ferrari.
Logan took the opportunity to box twice, getting his mandatory stops in before we were back racing within a couple of laps, with Alex looking to hang on to Fernando Alonso ahead.
The attack soon turned to defence from the other Aston Martin before Alex’s race came to an end with a high-speed accident at Turn 6, with our Thai racer quick to confirm he was OK.
This brought out the first of three red flags, neutralising the race and allowing everyone a free tyre change.
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After a short delay, we were back racing once more, with Logan our sole focus for the rest of the afternoon. On the medium compound, the American racer made a double move following the standing start, passing Sergio Perez and Nyck De Vries.
It wouldn’t take the Mexican too long to get back past Logan before a Virtual Safety Car was deployed as George Russell pulled over.
After initially putting pressure on Kevin Magnussen, LS2 dropped away from the Dane and was soon in a race with Nyck De Vries who was also on the yellow-walled tyre.
Logan would box for the C2 hard compound with a little over 20 laps remaining and reeled his fellow rookie at some speed, but the Dutchman would pit just as Sarge reached his gearbox.
The remainder of Logan’s charge was set to be filled with blue flags as the leading pack filtered through before late drama struck at Albert Park.
Magnussen tagged the wall at Turn 3, losing his tyre and bringing out the red flag - we were set for a two-lap sprint to the finish with everyone on soft tyres.
As the sun began to set in Melbourne, the five lights went out for the third time and chaos ensued. There was contact throughout the order, and sadly Logan was caught up in it, running into the back of De Vries, ultimately classifying him in P16.
LS2 - P16 / AA23 - DNF
How we fared in Melbourne
"The race in general just didn’t quite fall our way, with it being a really tricky day,” Logan shared this evening.
“We pitted to the medium tyre following the first safety car, and it just wasn’t the tyre to be on today and I really struggled with it.
“Once we got to the hard tyre, the pace wasn’t too bad, so to end it like that is unfortunate. We tried to take some chances today and it just didn’t pay off.
“I’ve learnt a lot from today, so hopefully I can use these learnings going forward.”
After such a positive weekend up to lap 7, Alex was speaking to us much earlier than we all would have liked, saying: “We’re still looking at the data but there was nothing unusual in the corner itself.
“When I lost the car, I was going through slower than the previous lap; I went wide on the corner before and spiked the tyre temperatures, losing grip and going into the next corner a bit hot, so I think that’s what happened but we need to look at it.
“With all the accidents, it was a good chance to score points this weekend, so I’m very sorry to the team. I’m disappointed, as we had a great car today and were really strong.”
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Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance, rounded out our reaction by commenting: “It was a remarkable race but ultimately it was a missed opportunity for us. Alex built on his excellent qualifying display to make more positions at the start and was looking good for a comfortable top-ten finish.
“Unfortunately, touching the kerb at high speed in Turn 5 led to a small snap and a spike in tyre temperature, which led him to lose the car at the next corner.
“We tried a different initial strategy with Logan, but the early red flag rendered that ineffective. Although he had some decent pace, he was unable to benefit from the unusual way that race developed ahead.
“We leave Melbourne frustrated that we couldn’t take advantage of our good pace and turn it into points. However, the whole team can be heartened that the car worked very well this weekend and we will be able to put ourselves into similar positions in future races, starting in Baku in a few weeks.”
The preceding Formula 3 feature race brought mixed results for our trio, with Saturday’s Sprint winner Zak O’Sullivan coming home in P5. Ollie Gray earned his best result in the series so far with a P14 whilst Franco Colapinto was an early retirement.

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