REPORT: Battling throughout in Shanghai

Published on
21 Apr 2024
Est. reading time
4 Min

Both cars see the chequered flag at the Chinese Grand Prix but outside of the points

The 2024 Chinese Grand Prix produced yet another tight midfield battle, but Williams Racing will leave Shanghai with no points to their name, finishing five seconds shy of the top 10.
Alex Albon lined up on mediums from his P14 grid spot, whilst the decision was made for Logan Sargeant to start from the pit lane on softs, enabling us to experiment with the setup and learn more about the car.
Both drivers enjoyed a clean getaway, with Logan catching up to the back of the pack by the end of the first tour and Alex gaining one position.
With the drivers behind our No23 jumping early for their first stops, Alex came in at the end of Lap 9, fitting another set of fresh mediums.
He was immediately into a battle with Yuki Tsunoda but was passed by Lewis Hamilton whilst tussling with the RB.
Logan was in on the end of Lap 12 to switch from his softs to mediums to send him into his second stint, reporting over the radio that he was happier on this rubber.
Valtteri Bottas pulled over at T11 on Lap 21, eventually bringing out the Virtual Safety Car. But as the marshals struggled to push away his Sauber, a full Safety Car was deployed two laps later.
We took this opportunity to bring our duo in for what was to be their final stops, both going onto the hard tyre and sitting P16 and P17 for the restart.
However, there was to be more drama when we returned to green flag conditions as Lance Stroll rear-ended Daniel Ricciardo before the first Safety Car line, whilst Kevin Magnussen tagged Yuki Tsunoda at T5.
The Safety Car was deployed once again and our pair were now P12 and P13 for the next restart which proved much cleaner.
Both Alex and Logan cleared Ricciardo, who was limping with damage before he eventually retired.
Albono would remain in P12, roughly two seconds behind the rear wing of Esteban Ocon’s Alpine for the rest of the race, whilst Logan had multiple battles with Pierre Gasly as well as Zhou Guanyu.
Our American racer's tyres faded towards the end of the 56 laps, eventually coming home in P17.
However, with both cars seeing the finish, we now have plenty of data to pour over before we head into the Miami Sprint weekend in two weeks.
Race graphic showing Alex in P12 and Logan in P17
How we finished in Shanghai
"It was an OK race today," Alex explained. "Although the lower winds helped us, we were battling a lot of tyre degradation throughout the race.
"We ultimately didn’t have the pace to overtake [Esteban] Ocon at the end and he was defending well.
"We understand the problems with the car, but they’re not immediate fixes and we will need a few upgrades to improve our performance.
"Looking to Miami, I think our car will suit the track much better and I’m optimistic we can have a better result."
Logan continued our reaction by adding: "It’s been a difficult weekend as we’ve been struggling to get the car in the right window.
"We’ve had good moments and some bad moments through the weekend. Most importantly we need to figure out what we could’ve done better as a team.
"The first half of the race was solid. The start on the Softs was strong then we were in a really good place on the Medium tyres.
"We probably could’ve done without the Safety Car because we would’ve gone Medium, Medium which would’ve suited us better. When we put the Hard tyres on, I couldn’t get them to switch on and suffered with degradation.
"The penalty for the Safety Car infringement doesn’t really matter in the end. From my perspective, I thought I crossed the line first. When the cars are going at such different speeds, I don’t know how I could’ve known the true order."
Finally, Dave Robson gave his thoughts on a difficult weekend in Shanghai.
"We were more competitive today and having taken the opportunity to make some setup changes on Logan’s car, we were able to do some useful testing in good conditions," commented our Head of Vehicle Performance.
"The experience gained yesterday in the Sprint race helped Alex and Logan to manage their stints today.
"Whilst we didn’t quite have the pace to fight for the final points positions, we were close on pace with the teams around us.
"It was good to come back to the Shanghai circuit and complete the first Sprint event of the year.
"It was a tricky weekend, but the team worked very hard throughout, and we made good progress as the event progressed."
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