Report: A Singapore Q2 appearance for the first time since 2016

Published on
16 Sep 2023
Est. reading time
4 Min

Read what Alex Albon, Logan Sargeant and Dave Robson had to say after a difficult Qualifying session at Marina Bay

At a track that doesn’t suit our current package, the team are reflecting on a tough, but not unsurprising, Singapore Grand Prix Qualifying.
Logan Sargeant was the first car on track but suffered oversteer in the opening sector of his first push, improving by 1.5s on his second effort, placing him just ahead of Alex.
After both put on new tyres, they returned to the circuit for one last attempt to get out of Q1, both improving. Logan was left frustrated after reporting some downshift issues at T10, improving to a 1:33.252 – not enough to progress.
Alex set a 1:32.668 on his final push, placing him right on the edge of the drop zone, but Lance Stroll’s heavy crash at the last turn brought out a red flag.
As a result, no one behind could complete their laps, and with the session over, Albono became the first Williams Racing driver through to Q2 in Singapore since 2016.
After the barriers were repaired, Alex set about attempting to get as high up the order as possible, knowing a Q3 berth was incredibly unlikely.
His second push lap was deleted for track limits, leaving him with a 1:33.252. This was good enough for P14, eliminating him alongside Max Verstappen, Pierre Gasly, Sergio Perez and Yuki Tsunoda.
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“I think 14th is the best we could do today, so I was happy to get out of Q1,” Albono explained after the session.
“In Q2 I just didn’t feel the grip I did in Q1, so I don’t know if the long time in the garage or the out lap prep hurt me.
“We’ve been so mileage-limited this weekend, so I feel like I’ve been playing catch-up all weekend and just didn’t quite get there.
“The tyres seem to be so soft this weekend, requiring you to drive so slow during the out lap and cool down lap, so I don’t think we fully understood that with the limited track time.
“I think ultimately with the tyre understanding there was more to be learnt but I don’t think it would’ve changed the result too much.
"We haven’t done a race run so that will make things a bit more challenging, but we’ll put our focus on tomorrow.”

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Despite being eliminated in the opening phase, Logan remained upbeat with the progress made as the weekend progressed, saying: “It’s honestly been an ok weekend from my side, I’ve been comfortable with the track and got up to speed nicely.
“Quali was tricky with the track evolving so much lap after lap. I was on a good lap at the end but as I went into turn 10 and over the bumps, I had a lot of rear locking and no downshifts.
“I must’ve lost four or five-tenths through there that would’ve put me pretty close to where I needed to be.
“It’s going to be a tricky race, but we have to be optimistic and try to go forward tomorrow.
“The car is in a better place now than it was yesterday so hopefully that will help us.”

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Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance, concluded our Saturday reaction by adding: “We were playing catch-up today but made some decent progress with the car.
“However, this circuit remains difficult for us and we need to work hard to correct these characteristics ahead of next season.
“Qualifying was a difficult session for everyone. Alex was fortunate to set a time prior to the red flag in Q1, which allowed him to progress.
“Although Logan was also ahead of the incident, a gearshift issue cost him the time that he needed to also qualify for Q2.
“We are investigating the gearbox to see if there is a mechanical issue that needs attention ahead of the Grand Prix.
“Once in Q2, we were unable to make any real progress, gaining a place only to [Yuki] Tsunoda who was unable to set a lap time.
“Securing P14 on the grid with Alex is a good result at a track we are struggling at.
“Nonetheless, the race will be difficult tomorrow, but a lot can happen in Singapore and there are probably a few cars out of position, which could make the race very interesting.”
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