In a Dutch Grand Prix that saw a late Safety Car cause a frantic final few laps, Alex Albon pushed forwards to reach P12, and Nicholas Latifi crossed the line P18.
Alex began his race on the yellow-walled medium tyres, contrary to his rivals, and committed to any early two-stop strategy with a second set before a final run on hards.
The strategy allowed him to progress up from P15 on the grid on a day the man himself says he “did better than I expected.”
With such a high-downforce circuit and the FW44 better suited to the high-speed tracks as we saw last week at Spa-Francorchamps, gaining positions today shows promising progress for the rest of the season, no matter the circuit.
The late Safety Car saw the field drive through the pit lane and bunched the pack up for the final push to the flag, yet even with Nicky helping Alex by keeping the Thai driver’s path to those ahead clear when car No23 lapped him, it was just outside the points this time.
There are positives to take from a race with such different characteristics from last weekend, and it’s a rapid turnaround for the upcoming Italian Grand Prix in just one week.
Visibly encouraged by the FW44’s performance at Zandvoort, Alex was pleasantly surprised by his P12, saying: “I think coming into today, we didn't have high expectations, so think we've proven we're not too far away from the points.
“We didn't expect much from the high downforce circuit, so it's positive and I think going forward we won't be so scared of these types of circuits and can focus on fighting for points. I was happy with the car, despite just lacking a bit of lap time.”
Alex is ready to unlock even more with the car, explaining: “There's still a little bit to find, but we can work on this and look at what we can do, as right now we're fine tuning the package and know its limitations. It's not points but it's a good job.”
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Unfortunately, Nicky’s Sunday didn’t go as he had hoped. “It was just a race to forget really,” summarised our Canadian, before saying: ”We’ve been struggling with pace the whole weekend and it’s quite confusing to me as to why.”
Nicky’s technical problems on Saturday always meant his Sunday would start on the back foot, as he explained: “Due to the issue in qualifying we didn’t really get the chance to see where we would have been on pace, so one to learn from.”
Dave Robson, our Head of Vehicle Performance, was encouraged by how the team handled a busy Sunday: “I think we can be pretty pleased with the way that we executed the race today.
“There were a huge range of valid strategies, with all three compounds offering potentially useful trades in the overcast conditions.
“The Safety Car periods mixed things up a little and gave teams the opportunity to change from their base strategies.”
Dave went on to detail how the tyre strategies played out: “We were quite comfortable on the Medium tyre and looked to be finding a good rhythm on the Hard before the Safety Car gave us the opportunity to switch Alex to the Soft.
“Ultimately, we couldn’t score any points and the Safety Car didn’t help our cause today as it allowed Gasly a free tyre change.
“However, we were able to beat the Alfa Romeo and Haas cars as well as a McLaren and an Aston Martin.
“It was a shame to finish behind Pierre for the second weekend in a row, but he had good pace and qualified four places ahead of Alex. Hopefully we can turn the tables on him next weekend!”
Unfortunately, the Williams Driver Academy didn’t score any points in their Sunday races, but Logan Sargeant, Zak O’Sullivan, and Roy Nissany will be back in action with Alex and Nicky at Monza next week.
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