The final F1 Sprint of the season brought disappointment for Williams Racing after Nicholas Latifi came home P19 whilst Alex Albon was the sole retirement of the session.
Our duo both had a clean opening lap but dropped down the order from their initial starting positions, with Alex in P15 and Nicky in P17 at the end of the first tour of Interlagos.
Fernando Alonso boxed after picking up damage, temporarily elevating us up a position before Mick Schumacher made a pass on Alex during Lap 5.
Nicky, one of just two drivers to start on the medium compound, was passed by a trio of drivers which dropped him to P19 before our Sprint took an unexpected turn.
Whilst closing in on a pack of drivers ahead, Alex appeared to run over some debris on the pit straight, forcing him to go straight on at Turn 1 and retire the car.
In the closing laps, Nicky was passed by the recovering Alpine of Alonso, before crossing the line in P19.
We'll be looking to push forward tomorrow
“The Sprint race was very difficult for both drivers,” explained our Head of Vehicle Performance, Dave Robson.
“Alex had a poor start but was starting to get things back under control and was catching the group in front when he ran over some debris, which caused him to retire.
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“Nicholas’s car needed a bit of work to fix an issue from FP2 and his team did a good job to get the car ready.
“Unfortunately, he struggled for pace throughout the Sprint race and we need to see if there is anything we can do to recover some of this for tomorrow”.
Nicky reflected on a tough Saturday by saying: “It was a very lonely afternoon out there.
“We found some damage on the rear of the car after FP2, which we fixed before the sprint race. However, after two or three laps the car began to feel difficult again.
“I ran over some debris as well, which caused some significant damage to the floor.”
Alex completed our reaction by adding: “I don’t know what happened to be honest, but I think it was the debris caused by Fernando and Ocon on the main straight.
“Ultimately, from the start, it was not good with low grip and front locking every corner for the first laps, so we really need to have a good look at the car overnight.”
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