Report: Mixed emotions on Saturday in Suzuka

Published on
23 Sep 2023
Est. reading time
4 Min

The grid is set for the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix

It has been a mixed Qualifying day for the team at the Japanese Grand Prix, with Alex Albon reaching Q2 whilst Logan Sargeant didn’t set a time.
Having finished P16 in FP3, Logan was happy with where he found himself heading into Quali.
As his first push lap of Q1 came to a close, he suffered a snap of oversteer whilst rounding the final corner and hit the barriers before setting a time.
Alex had been P18 in Practice earlier in the day, and after his first Q1 lap time was deleted for track limits, he had it all to do on his final attempt.
Crossing the line with just seconds to spare, Alex produced a strong lap to place him P12 and through to Q2.
Getting into the final phase was always going to be tough, but Albono came oh-so-close to making it. Setting his time early on an empty Suzuka Circuit, he recorded a 1:30.557 which placed him P7 on the line.
However, as other drivers completed their final flying laps, he filtered down to P13 and only 0.072s off of a place in Q3.
How we fared in Japanese GP Quali...
“If this track was ten degrees cooler, I think we would have been in Q3,” Alex explained after Qualifying.
“But it’s been a tough weekend and we’ve been on the back foot, so to come out P13 I think is the most we could get out of qualifying.
“Coming into this weekend, we expected to be a bit further up but, considering how Friday went and how fine the margins are out there, it’s a good achievement and I was happy with my Quali lap.
“There’s massive deg, the tarmac is very rough and we have the heat, so it’s going to be a long tricky race tomorrow.
“The key will be tyre management and control from everyone. It’s very tight out there.”

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Logan is keen to put the incident that ended his Qualifying behind him as quickly as possible, sharing: “It’s been a good day until the incident. It was going well, and we had the car in a good window.
“I’ve just been struggling with rear overheating in the last sector. I lost the rear on exit; maybe a bit too aggressive on power with the tailwind as well.
“The grass creeps up on you quickly as it’s coming back towards you. Unfortunately, once I touched the grass there was nothing I could do. It’s disappointing and not what I wanted.
“I know the team have a big job on their hands to repair my car for tomorrow and I really appreciate all their hard work and effort.
“I’ll put this behind me and focus on the race tomorrow.”
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Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance, offered an insight into how the day unfolded from his perspective on the pit wall.
“A mixed day for us. We tried some different directions in FP3, and this didn’t work out as we had hoped,” he explained.
“Changes were made for qualifying and as a result, we were in a much better position. Unfortunately, Logan lost his car at the exit of the final corner, clipping the grass and ending in the wall.
“At this circuit, a minor mistake in that corner has big consequences and we now must rebuild a whole car for Logan.
“The team will approach this with their usual skill and enthusiasm, and he should be ready to race tomorrow.
“Alex had a good qualifying session and quickly got accustomed to the changes made to his car after FP3.
“At the end of Q1, he produced another very strong lap in pressured circumstances. This was reminiscent of his Q1 performance in Silverstone and is a testament to his mental strength and driving abilities.
“He put in a very strong lap on a quiet track in Q2; his pace in the first two sectors was extremely good but he lost a little bit in the final chicane.
“To finish within 30ms of 11th place is a little frustrating, but those are the fine margins that we are dealing with.
“We have a good selection of new tyres available for the race tomorrow and will be looking to make progress into the top 10 during the Grand Prix.”
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