Report: A “tricky” Mexican Qualifying

Published on
29 Oct 2022
Est. reading time
3 Min

High speeds from the FW44, but a Q1 exit in Mexico City

Our high top speeds at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez couldn’t propel Williams Racing out of Q1 in a tough Mexico City Saturday afternoon.
Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi are set to start from P17 and P18, respectively, tomorrow and will look to progress with a FW44 package that was the fastest in the high-speed first sector.
It was P19 for Alex as Q1 ended after a moment of oversteer on his second run meant he couldn’t improve. Nicky did find a little more time as the session progressed but ended in P20. With grid penalties from our rivals, there’ll be a two-place promotion for our duo.
Earlier, FP3 showed some signs of promise when Alex finished inside the top 10, despite his limited Friday running. That Free Practice effort shows we have speed, and we’ll go again tomorrow.
“The car felt okay and I was feeling good in FP3,” explained Alex, detailing our first Saturday session before continuing “but the track was hotter in Q1 and had lost a lot of grip compared to FP3.
“I think it would have been hard to get into Q2 today, however our lap was looking like it could have got us through.”
Alex looked set to go faster on his second Q1 run but lost some grip on his hot lap: “We were on the edge today and on the final lap, with the same corner speed as the lap before, I got massive oversteer; it’s really tricky to drive these cars on the edge, especially for us.
“Tomorrow will be interesting as you think it would be easy to overtake here but it’s actually quite difficult and there’s some cars here that are faster than we expected.”
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On the other side of the garage, Nicky’s assessed the day by saying: “Today’s been tricky. We knew coming into the weekend that this would be a difficult track for us.
“It seemed more positive before qualifying, so it’s a bit of a surprise not being able to make a step up in the session
“We had some issues on the second set of tyres which didn’t help as I could’ve improved my lap time by a few tenths. In the end, we were struggling out there for grip.”
Dave Robson, the Williams Racing Head of Vehicle Performance, had hoped for more today: “We made some good progress overnight and went into qualifying expecting to be able to get at least one car into Q2.
“The track was hotter than it had been in FP3, which changed the tyre behaviour a little and slowed the track in the early stages of Q1.
“However, we adapted to this and Alex was looking strong on his final lap in Q1 until he had a big moment at T7, which ruined his lap.”
Dave knows there’s work to do before lights out tomorrow: “Nicholas struggled more today having been happy yesterday. It’s not clear why he was unable to find a step forwards today and we are continuing to look into it.
“We are not starting the Grand Prix as far forward as we had hoped, however, tomorrow will be a race of attrition as well as pace and we will be looking to move forwards and fighting until the chequered flag.”
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