Experience Centre

Report: Alex P17 and Nicky P19 after Jeddah qualifying

Published on
26 Mar 2022
Est. reading time
3 Min

The grid is set for the second race of the season

Alex Albon will start Sunday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix from P17 with Nicholas Latifi in P19.
Our No6 hit the wall at Turn 13 midway through Q1. Thankfully the Canadian was OK and walked away from the incident.
Once the session resumed, Alex pushed to reach Q2 for the second Grand Prix in succession, and despite improving, ultimately fell short by just over two tenths.
“It was a tricky day,” the Thai driver explained.
“I felt we were capable of getting to Q2, but getting the tyres to work, especially at night-time when the temperature drops, becomes a little more difficult.
“We don’t have a bad car, but the tyres are very sensitive and we just missed the operating window.
“We have a bit of work to do but otherwise, in the race we should have good pace, so we can be positive on that side.
“Overtaking is going to be tricky but hopefully we have a pace advantage.”
After returning from the on-site medical centre for precautionary checks, Nicky talked us through the incident that cut short his session.
“It just seemed like I lost the rear under braking into Turn 13, so we need to look at the data to understand exactly why,” he said.
“It was the first time I became rear limited in that corner all weekend, it caught me by surprise quite a bit.
“I feel really sorry for the team because it was a costly mistake.
“It’s difficult to say at the moment about tomorrow; the car is feeling a bit better than it did in Bahrain, but we still have a lot of work to do.
“It will be a long race so we just have to be there.”
Our Head of Vehicle Performance, Dave Robson, was watching on from the Pit Wall and guided us through what proved to be a tough Saturday for the team.
“We made some progress overnight with the setup and used the running in FP3 to determine the best run plan for Qualifying.
“Unfortunately, Nicholas touched the wall at the end of FP3 causing some minor damage to the front wing, which meant that he missed the grid start at the end of the session.
“Alex had a smoother session and confirmed that he was reasonably happy with the car.
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“As we typically see on street circuits, qualifying can be very busy with a range of approaches to tyres and a constant risk of flag interruptions.
“With the lap being so long here in Jeddah, the run plans get squeezed and there is little slack.
“We had a programme to get both drivers a good shot at the tyre preparation, but this went awry when Nicholas crashed at T13 causing a red flag.
“We will need to inspect the damage tonight and understand what needs replacing before the race tomorrow.
“We moved Alex to a backup strategy and again gave him an opportunity to prepare the tyres, which was getting more difficult in the cooler conditions.
“He pushed hard and had a clean lap, but we were lacking the pace and the tyre grip to progress.
“We will now look to tomorrow and see if we can make some places as this is likely to be a race of attrition.”
As for our Academy drivers in the Formula 2 Sprint, Roy Nissany came home in P11 whilst Logan Sargeant was involved in a race-ending incident during a Safety Car restart.
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