Alex Albon qualified 16th and Nicholas Latifi 19th for the Australian Grand Prix
Alex’s fastest time, a 1:20.135, was set on his penultimate lap whilst running the soft Pirelli tyre
Nicholas set a quickest lap of 1:21.372 on the soft compound tyre before an incident with Lance Stroll ended his Qualifying session
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: It was a frustrating afternoon for us having made some good progress with the car overnight and again during FP3. We know that getting into Q2 is a challenge for us currently and we need to get everything right to have a chance. The session was going well, and the tyres were working well. Alex was making steady progress with each pushing lap and had one attempt remaining when the session was red flagged. He was in a good position and had prepared his tyres well and so it is a shame that we didn’t get to see the final result. When the session restarted, we knew that there wasn’t time for everyone to get a final lap in and so we chose to queue in the pit lane to guarantee a good track position. The price we pay for this is loss of tyre temperature, but we had little to lose at this point. Sadly, the congested track and the cooler tyres meant that Alex could not improve, but it was a valiant effort in the circumstances. We had to stop Alex on his in-lap as he approached the pit entry as we could see a possible problem with the car.
Nicholas was very unlucky to collide with Stroll when preparing his tyres for another fast lap. It appears that Stroll didn’t see that Nicholas had moved alongside to pass him and continue his tyre preparation. We will need to assess the damage tonight, but there will be no problem getting the car ready for the race tomorrow.
Alex Albon: It’s frustrating not to make it through to Q2 today. The team have done an amazing job overnight to maximise the performance of the car, so we were in a position to fight for more. We’re finding that we need to do a couple of push laps to get the tyres in the optimum window, and unfortunately, my second lap on the second set of tyres was interrupted by the red flag. I felt like we deserved a bit more today, but it’s all to play for tomorrow.
Nicholas Latifi: I’ve seen the video so it’s very clear from my side who is at fault. I let Lance pass as I was told he was on a push lap, which he then must have aborted a corner or so before, which is why he was then going slow. I needed to carry on with my cool down lap and pick up the pace again and get my tyre preparation correct. There was a very big gap to overtake him and, when I got alongside, he turned in for whatever reason. The impact itself was a very small but, because of the way of the impact it has big consequences. There’s a lot of damage to the car so we’ll have to see what the guys can do and I know we have one of the best teams for that. This is the last thing I would have wanted; the goal here was to have a clean weekend and so this is extremely frustrating.