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Team “looking to score points” after qualifying in Le Castellet

Published on
23 Jul 2022
Est. reading time
4 Min

AA23 and NL6 qualified P15 and P20 respectively but will rise after penalties

Alex Albon qualified in P15 with Nicholas Latifi in P20, but both drivers will climb at least two spots on tomorrow’s grid for the French Grand Prix once penalties are applied.
Our duo were left frustrated when a sudden wind speed increase during the final run in Q1 made their afternoon a more difficult affair.
The gusts caused Alex to bail on his final run of that session, but his 1:33.423 would prove just good enough to progress to the second stage. Nicky improved on his last push, but a loss of grip through the chicane meant he’d only clock a 1:33.794, good enough for P20.
Our Thai racer was the sole Williams fighting in the second stage of qualifying who set a 1:33.307 on his last run in Q2, initially good enough for P10 before eventually dropping to P15.
“I think I got a lot out of the car today and was happy with it,” explained the No23, continuing: “The wind did pick up and I struggled a bit with this.
“I think we’ve been slightly fortunate throughout the weekend so far with the low wind, but it picked up in qualifying and was getting stronger and just went the wrong way for us.
“The team are doing a good job and have come up with a really different package, so we really are fighting towards Q2 which is exactly where we want to be.
“Starting P13 puts us in a good place for tomorrow so let’s see what we can do from there.”
Despite his result, Nicky was largely pleased with his efforts as he continues to adjust to his largely changed FW44, saying: “From the first practices there were positive signs, as well as an adjustment to the driving to get used to the new package, but it has felt like a relative step forward in performance.
“We should have safely been through to Q2, but the wind picked up for my final lap and I lost a lot of time.
“I was progressively chipping away, so I should have been around eight tenths quicker than the time I did, but it all went away from the chicane onwards; I lost all the grip.
“The pace was there in the car and there are clear signs of improvement with the upgrade.
“We’ll check the car overnight and hope that the wind calms down for the race tomorrow.”
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Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance, offered a detailed analysis of Saturday’s proceedings, adding: “Conditions got a step trickier during Q1 as the wind picked up and this seemed to harm our competitiveness.
“FP3 went well and we did a good job with the tyres, but we expected that our position in the timesheets was a bit flattering for the real pace of the car.
“Q1 was going well until the wind picked up for the final run. This upset quite a few drivers, including both Alex and Nicholas.
“Alex had to abort his final attempt and Nicky, who was on a good lap at the time, lost a lot of the gain at T8 and was unable to improve. Fortunately, as other drivers also struggled, Alex’s time from his first run was good enough to qualify for Q2.
“Conditions remained tricky and Alex wasn’t quite sure how the car would react and so his pace wasn’t as good as it had been earlier in the weekend.
“However, due to some PU penalties, we will now start from 13th and 18th tomorrow. If the wind is favourable, then we can have a good race from there and look to score some points.”
For our Driver Academy, Jamie Chadwick continued her dominance in the W Series with a fifth win from five this season, stretching her streak to seven successive victories.
In the Formula 2 Sprint Race, Logan Sargeant kept it clean in a hectic Sprint Race to bring his Carlin home exactly where he started in P10. This would later get upgraded to P8 after penalties were applied, earning the American one point whilst Roy Nissany finished P16.
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