We were unable to convert our best Qualifying result for seven years into a points finish at the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix, with Alex Albon finishing in P12 and Logan Sargeant in P16.
From their third-row grid spots, our duo managed to safely negotiate the Turn 1 chaos and ended the opening tour in the positions they had started in.
After a short VSC period to clear debris, we were back racing again, but not for long. Lando Norris had a big hit into the wall at Turn 12, bringing out the full Safety Car – the McLaren driver was thankfully OK.
Following three laps behind the Safety Car, we went racing once again and we restarted cleanly, building a gap to those behind.
On Lap 15, Logan dropped three positions as his medium tyres began to fade away, coming into the pits for what would be his one and only stop, switching to the hards.
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Alex did likewise the very next lap and our pair immediately went into management mode to make sure they could get the white-walled Pirellis to the end.
A second full Safety Car was deployed on Lap 27 to clear up debris following a collision between Max Verstappen and George Russell.
We were back green on Lap 28, with our pair in P8 and P11 but in a group of drivers who had been able to take a cheap stop under the Safety Car.
Alex climbed a spot, whilst Logan dropped two at the restart before a wide moment on Lap 40 for our No23 sent him down to P12 where he remained.
Logan slipped down to P16, with his tyres going away from him – he ran the most laps of anyone on a single set, making his hards last for 36 laps.
Where we finished in Vegas.
“I suffered quite badly from graining today,” Alex shared as he reflected on his evening, adding: “It was difficult for us and the Safety Car didn’t help with most getting a pitstop with little consequence.
“It’s one of those races that we’ll need to review after as I thought we were managing quite well but after the Safety Car in the middle of the race, I was racing everyone on old tyres.
“I could just about manage my own race, but I had to push a bit more and it creates this cycle which is difficult to manage.
“There are some positives to take from this weekend, so it’s not all bad but obviously a bit frustrating to walk away without points. We’ll continue this fight for P7 to the very end.”
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Logan continued our reaction by adding: “Honestly, I don’t think there’s a lot we did wrong today. As a team, we came around 5th & 6th after the first lap which was the goal.
“I felt like we managed that first stint relatively well but as expected the quicker cars started to come through towards the end of it.
“We went with our strategy and boxed for the Hard tyre with the plan to take us to the end. I don’t think we were in a bad position until that second Safety Car came out and it killed any chance we had.
“We didn’t really have any option to come in and fit a new set. Others did which put them at an advantage, but we tried to hold on until the end. As a weekend, we maximised our plan and executed well it was just a bit of bad fortune today.”
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance, wrapped up by adding: “[It was] disappointing not to score some points today but we weren’t quite able to manage the tyre graining well enough on the Hard tyre.
“Had we been able to control that graining a little better, then Alex could’ve had a final stint closer to that of Ocon, and a points finish would’ve been possible.
“The margins were fine today, and we didn’t quite get it right. Fortunately, we were still able to lead the pack of teams competing for 7th place in the Championship and so we preserve our advantage heading into Abu Dhabi.
“Racing in Las Vegas has been a new and exciting challenge that has pushed the team, drivers and cars to new limits. We dealt with many things very well this weekend but couldn’t quite put it all together today.”
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