Both Williams Racing cars had their Abu Dhabi Saturday end in Q1 meaning our driver pairing will be on full attack from row 10 in tomorrow’s Grand Prix.
It’s a P19 start for Alex Albon, with Nicholas Latifi beginning his final race with us from P20 on the grid at the Yas Marina Circuit.
With the floodlights shining bright after the Middle Eastern sun set over the track, the two FW44s ended Q1 just 0.026s apart in the final Qualifying session of the 2022 season. Our duo will go again one last time tomorrow.
Meanwhile, in Formula 2, Logan Sargeant took a points-scoring finish in the Sprint Race after an early red flag. His P6 finish hands our American Driver Academy racer three vital points going into Sunday’s final race as he aims to finish his season on a high.
“After FP3 we were feeling confident and the car was looking good,” Alex explains, “however as the track temperature drops down, outlaps need to be faster to compensate for the drop and we were in a lot of traffic and not able to get a clear outlap.”
The busy track was a problem for several drivers, including our No23: “I overtook seven or eight cars on the outlap and I was still not ready for Turn 1.
“However after Turn 6 I was happy with my lap but I lost so much time in the first half trying to get the tyres up to temperature.
“It wasn’t enough when the margins are so small but I think we would’ve got into Q2 had it not been for that.”
Despite his P19 position, Alex was able to see the positives from the day: “Fortunately, it’s not a situation where we’re scratching our heads wondering why there’s no grip, it’s more that we didn’t really have the chance to do what we needed to.
“When we’re in traffic it makes it complicated so it’s a bit frustrating, but we’ll look to tomorrow.”
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Nicky’s final Qualifying with the team sees him start the race in P20. Like Alex, he found reasons for optimism: “I’m pretty happy with the last lap in Qualifying. It wasn’t the perfect lap, but it was clean.
“We just didn’t have the pace today. I made sure to use all the tyres I had and left nothing on the rack. It’s not where I want to be in my last Qualifying session, but I’m satisfied.”
As with his teammate, Nicky struggled with the number of cars also on track: “I think the main difficulty was trying to find the right space for the outlaps.
“Tomorrow will be difficult but it’s my last race and I’ll be trying to enjoy it as much as possible.”
Dave Robson, Williams Racing Head of Vehicle Performance, summarised the session by saying: “Qualifying was a frustrating session, which we didn’t execute as well as we needed to.”
The traffic on track in Qualifying is where Dave believes the time was lost: “We knew how to get a good lap out of the car, but we didn’t give Alex a good chance to achieve it as he had too much traffic on his final outlap.
“Although Nicholas had an easier outlap, he was still a little compromised and the margins are so fine that, whilst he drove well, he was unable to progress.
“After the good work of the last few days, this was a disappointing day, but we now need to look to tomorrow.”
PWP: Will you call it right?
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