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GOOD AFTERNOON

Report: The sun sets on the 2022 Formula One season

Published on
20 Nov 2022
Est. reading time
5 Min

Alex Albon battled to P13 whilst a late issue for Nicholas Latifi saw him pull in from P19 in the final laps

The curtain has come down on another season in Formula One following an Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that finished with mixed fortunes for our two drivers.
Alex Albon battled from the back row to P13 at the chequered flag, whilst Nicholas Latifi’s final race with the team ended prematurely owing to an electrical issue.
Our duo had enjoyed a strong start to proceedings at the Yas Marina Circuit, with both Alex and Nicky making up positions in the opening laps.
Alex was up to P15 within six laps, which included a couple of great passes on Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher.
On Lap 12, our No23 became the first driver to stop as he made the switch from the medium compound to the hard tyre, committing to the two-stop strategy.
Four laps later it was Nicky’s turn to get medium tyres bolted onto his FW44 and our pair were back racing in P16 and P20.
Alex was soon on the charge once more, making another move on Magnussen before speeding past Valtteri Bottas in the second DRS zone on the next lap.
The Thai racer would get as high as P11 before making his second stop whilst others around him on a one-stop strategy also pulled in.
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Another solid stop from our crew got Alex back out there in P15 before his teammate was involved in an incident on Lap 39.
Nicky was tagged by Schumacher who had made an ambitious dive at T5, sending both into a simultaneous spin.
The German racer picked up a five-second time penalty for his troubles whilst our departing Canadian boxed for fresh medium tyres.
As the race reached its conclusion, Alex was involved in a thrilling three-way fight with Pierre Gasly and Zhou Guanyu.
Alex would pass the Frenchman with 10 laps to go, but the Chinese racer would get by both before the Chequered flag.
Sadly for Nicky, his final race for the team came to an end with just laps to spare as an electrical issue forced him to pull into the pits.
“I’m really happy with my race today and I think with such a strong start,” Alex shared post-race, continuing: “Getting passed four or five cars in those first laps, it was great.
“There were moments in the race where we kept hitting a degradation point and would get to 15 laps and then suffer a loss of performance, so we were forced to pit quite early.
“We did fall short at the end finishing on worn tyres, but I think starting P19 and finishing P13 is a good job, so I’m really happy.
“This year has been a massive team effort and we’ve done our best in maximising the car.
“We haven’t had the easiest car to drive which is no secret but I’m really proud of everyone.
“We know our weaknesses and we’ve maximised our opportunities when we were struggling, and when the car was in a decent window, that’s when we scored points.
“This puts us in a good place for when we have a better car next year. All in all, thanks to everyone in the team for all their efforts this year.”
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Nicky reflected on his last race for the team by commenting: “The incident with Mick [Schumacher] really put us out and then we suffered an electrical issue that forced us to retire.
“It’s not how I wanted to end my last one, but it is what it is. I’m very grateful for the three years I’ve had with Williams in Formula 1.
“I’m leaving the sport feeling like I wanted to achieve and accomplish more, however, it doesn’t always work out like that in motorsports.
“Along the way there’s been highs and lows with many strong bonds and friendships that I’ll cherish.”
Jost Capito, CEO and Team Principal continued our reaction by saying: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to every member of the team both at track and back at the factory.
“It’s been an intense, challenging year and each person put in maximum effort. We can be proud of the progress we made during the year and the points scoring results we achieved on pace and merit.
“Of course, tenth is never where we want to be in the championship and our focus is fully on progressing in 2023.
“We go straight onto the young driver’s test here in Abu Dhabi so there is no rest for the team quite yet, and we look forward to having a productive day on Tuesday.
“Finally, I’d like to say a huge thanks to Nicholas for his three years racing with the team.
“He’s a much-loved member of the team and will always remain a member of the Williams family - we wish him all the very best of luck for his future.”
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Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance, added his views having watched the action intensely from the Pit Wall, saying: "From the back of the grid, this was a very good race by the team.
“The tyres required careful management and knowing when to push and when to manage was not always obvious, but Alex did an excellent job, helped by advice from his engineers.
“Losing a place right at the end was a shame but at least showed that we pushed things to the limit in pursuit of the best possible result.
“It was another example of an aggressive but disciplined drive by Alex, which bodes well for the future.
“Nicholas was very unfortunate that an electrical issue ended his final race with the team a few laps early.
“We are still looking at the problem, but it was clear that the power to the dash was intermittent and completing the race was not possible.
“He had suffered contact earlier in the race, which caused some damage to the rear of his car that both hurt his pace and led to a long pit stop whilst we inspected the car.
“We have a few loose ends to tie up this evening and then we will turn our attention to the test on Tuesday.
“We go into the test with both Alex and Logan getting experience of the new 2023 Pirelli tyres.
“It is a rare opportunity to have both cars on the track at the same time, and one that will not be repeated until FP1 at the first race next year.
“With only three days of pre-season testing next year, this single day of running is very important, especially with a new driver in the car.”
Earlier in the afternoon, Logan Sargeant’s mature drive saw him finish P5 in the Formula 2 feature race, which in turn secured P4 in the standings and cemented his place at Rookie of the Year.
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