Williams Racing head into the summer break with plenty to take away from the Hungarian Grand Prix and are ready to come back stronger at the end of August when Formula One returns to action.
Alex took P17 in the Grand Prix, just ahead of Nicky, who crossed the line in P18, in a race where rain often threatened but never fully materialised with only a light drizzle coming in the final laps.
Contact with Lance Stroll at Turn 2 on the first lap meant Alex had to pit for a new front wing and he spent the rest of his day recovering ground from the back before catching up on other runners and executing some stellar overtakes.
Nicky kept running with his damaged front wing end plate, which limited his pace through the 70-lap race, but our No6 kept his FW44 on the road to reach the chequered flag.
The drivers and team now head to the summer break for a chance to regroup. There are positive signs to take, like the P1 and P3 from Saturday's FP3, and we will look to bounce back in Spa-Francorchamps.
Even though the Lap 1 contact hindered Albono’s process, our No23 was still able to see the positives: “The race was okay. We were a bit out of sequence with the early damage and there was a lot of tyre degradation and pitstops, which didn’t make it easy.
“It’s been a tricky weekend for us, but it has been a good learning weekend, continuing to understand the strengths and the weaknesses of the new package.”
“Looking back at the season so far, personally I’m happy,” said our Thair race, reflecting on his 2022. “It’s gone well and better than I expected, and I go into the summer break pretty happy.
“Obviously, we’re not where we want to be positioning on circuits, but we’ve got time to reset now and we’ll come back stronger after the break.”
Nicky explained that the loose endplate from the Lap 1 incident made for a tough race: “Unfortunately, our race was compromised at the start through some front wing damage.
“It wasn't great as the damage set us back with much more tyre degradation than we were hoping for.
“The balance was very tricky with the wind, so we have to find a way to adjust that later in the season.
“Not the best way to go into the summer break, but we'll take the time to recharge and look to bounce back in Spa.”
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Meanwhile, our Head of Vehicle Performance, Dave Robson, lamented the first-lap damage on the two cars: “Unfortunately, the rain was never enough to affect the race and with both cars suffering damage on the 1st lap, we were forced into a difficult race.
“Alex had to box for a new front wing on lap 2 and although Nicky was able to continue, the damage to his wing did cost him performance for the rest of the race.”
Dave also noted that there was not an ideal Pirelli tyre strategy for any team or driver today: “All the tyre compounds were difficult today with many drivers unhappy about at least one of their choices.
“We opted to avoid the Hard tyre, which offered poor pace, and this required a very disciplined race from both drivers.
“It has been a challenging weekend and we are now looking forward to a break from the track. When the 2nd half of the season starts in a few weeks’ time the races come quickly, starting in Belgium.
“Fortunately, Spa is a very different track to the Hungaroring and we are looking forward to being more competitive there.”
The Williams Driver Academy were all out in force this weekend, too. Zak O’Sullivan fared well in Formula 3, taking a P4 finish and the Fastest Lap in the Feature Race. Logan Sargeant took a solitary point in Formula 2 after running a long stint on the alternative strategy while Roy Nissany finished P16.
In Scotland, Ollie Gray took a P2 in Race 3 at Knockhill in a race where the championship leader failed to score to bring our teenage hopeful closer to the top of the table. Jamie Chadwick reached P2 in yesterday’s W Series race to extend her championship lead to 75 points.
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