Williams Racing advanced through the order with an aggressive pit stop strategy for Alex Albon, whose early stop from his P16 grid position helped him finish the 2023 Hungarian GP in 11th place.
Another day of defending for Alex netted car 23 the P11 finish after fending off Alfa Romeo’s DRS-enabled Valtteri Bottas for much of the race’s latter stages.
Logan Sargeant looked set for P15 before a penultimate-lap spin had our American return to the pits for a P18 classification in an unlucky ending that didn’t represent Sarge’s pace.
Opening lap contact that our two FW45s deftly avoided had both Alpine cars face an early retirement and opened the door for higher positions for the Williams Racing pair.
Alex’s Lap 9 pit stop represented the first scheduled tyre change of any runner. That early switch to Pirelli’s hard compound eventually had Alex take P12, just behind Bottas, after everyone else stopped.
Logan followed suit, swapping his medium rubber for hards, and by the time the second pit stops came, Albono undercut Bottas to take P11 while Sarge reached P15 as our medium-hard-hard strategy worked.
The late-race spin for Logan as he sat in the dirty air of Nico Hulkenberg means the P18 classification masks a strong drive, while Alex again showed why he is gaining a reputation for being a top defensive driver.
Earlier, our Williams Academy found success in Formula 3. Zak O’Sullivan took his fourth win of 2023, equalling the highest number of wins in a season, and Franco Colapinto made it a Williams 1-3 on the podium.
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“P11 is quite a surprising result,” said Alex after the race. “It was quite a defensive race which we like to do.
“We got track position and we were okay; we came into this circuit knowing it wouldn’t suit us and we qualified where the pace of the car was.
“Clean air is so important around here; even though I pitted early, once I had clean air, I had a lot of laps to bed the tyre in slowly so once I came out and undercut the other cars, I had some grip left and could manage them behind me.”
Alex believes that our development is helping us even on tracks where we’re not confident of a point-scoring finish, and he said, “We’ve highlighted the areas our car struggles with by coming here, so when the car doesn’t feel great, it’s still raceable.
“To finish P11 and almost make Q2 yesterday, it’s a very good sign, so if we can fix these issues, then we’ll be in a good place across various circuits.”
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Logan remained upbeat after the race and saw the positives from his first Hungarian Grand Prix:
“Honestly, I was pretty happy with how the race was going.”
“I think we got a little bit unlucky with strategy; we had a slow first pitstop which cost us quite a lot, but, all in all, the pace was pretty good considering it’s a track which should have been quite bad for us.
“For Alex to be knocking on the door of points should give us a nice appetite for Spa, where we should be really strong.”
Dave Robson, Williams Racing’s Head of Vehicle Performance, was equally as positive, and said, “Today was exciting, and both drivers were able to mount a very strong recovery from yesterday.
“Both followed aggressive strategies that allowed us to be on the attack and whilst it made for a difficult final stint, both dealt with it very well and showed good pace whilst also managing their tyres.
“Although we didn’t score any points, Alex finishing in 11th place was a very strong result at a circuit that we expected wasn’t ideally suited to FW45.
“We have held on to 7th place in the Championship and collected another 11th place finish in the process.”
Dave went on to explain why Sarge’s race finished in the pit lane instead of on track, saying, “ It was a shame that Logan didn’t finish the race, but with a spin a few laps before the end, we opted to retire the car rather than risk further damage.
“Until that point, he was having another strong day and he can continue his good form into Spa.
“We now head to Spa for the final race before the summer shutdown. It is another sprint event, which will be very interesting given the weather and general nature of Spa.
“The car will be in quite a different configuration than it was this weekend and we hope that, as a result, it will work well in Belgium.
“The strong result today was due to some excellent teamwork at the track and in the factory. We put together a good strategy and although it asked a lot of the drivers, they delivered strongly.”