Report: Alex P13 and Nicky P16 at season opener

Published on
20 Mar 2022
Est. reading time
4 Min

The first race of the season is complete

Formula One is back and the team have created a solid foundation upon which to build on going into the 2022 season.
Both cars reached the chequered flag, with Alex Albon coming home in P13 whilst Nicholas Latifi was P16.
Alex had jumped to P11 at the start of the Grand Prix and soon engaged in a good battle with former Williams Racing driver Valtteri Bottas, showcasing that the new era of F1 cars can battle wheel-to-wheel.
The first round of stops soon came, with Alex pitting for mediums whilst Nicky switched to a new, soft compound.
As the pack sorted itself out, our pair soon found themselves battling with the McLaren duo, with our No23 getting past Lando Norris whilst our No6 held off Daniel Ricciardo.
After the second round of pit stops, Alex and Nicky found themselves in P16 and P18 respectively as the drivers settled into what was expected to be a routine final stint.
However, with a little over 10 laps remaining, the Safety Car was deployed so marshals could attend to Pierre Gasly’s stricken machine.
There was a flurry of pit stops with the entire field finding themselves all on soft tyres for the dash to the finish.
The Safety Car pulled in with six laps left but there was more drama at the top end of the field after the restart with both Red Bull’s failing to finish, elevating our pair to P13 and P16 at the chequered flag.
“My first Formula One race with Williams went pretty well,” Alex said after jumping out of his car, adding: “It felt like we did a good job and really maximised what we had.
“I had a good start and managed to make up a few positions, so I was pushing hard.
“Inevitably, a few faster cars overtook and we slipped back down a couple of places, but it’s a step forward considering the struggles we had last week.
“We knew it was going to be a difficult weekend, so to come out P13 with no reliability issues is something we should be pleased with.” As for his Canadian colleague, Nicky’s attention has already turned to the second round of the championship in Jeddah next week, saying: “It was a tricky day and it’s clear we’re not starting as strong as we would have liked.
“We’ve been lacking pace, struggling with overall grip, balance and tyre degradation, so we need to work out how we extract more out of the package we have now and have a real push to react as soon as possible to bring some more speed to the car.
“Jeddah will be a different kind of track and one that should suit us a bit better, but we’re still going to be going there with a similar package.
“I’m sure we’ll be able to optimise it more, knowing what we’ve learnt here, but I suspect it will still be tough. It’s a 23 race season though, so there’s plenty of time to claw things back.”
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On the Pit Wall, our Head of Vehicle Performance, Dave Robson, was left to reflect on a mixed afternoon at the office.
“It has been a tough evening in Bahrain,” Dave said, adding: “But we got both cars to the end, and at times showed some reasonable pace.
“Alex made a good start and made some places early in the race. Unfortunately, today we didn’t have the pace to hold on.
“However, we were able to race competitively with both the McLaren’s and the Aston Martin’s, which was an improvement from what we saw at the test last week.
“Nicholas raced hard as he always does but struggled to find a sustainable pace without the tyre degradation becoming unmanageable.
“Alex was calm and collected throughout the race and he has had an excellent start to his Williams career.
“Qualifying and racing with a new team are never straightforward as there are so many procedures to learn and relationships to form.
“However, after solid simulator and winter testing programmes, he was able to acquit himself very well all weekend.
“There is more to come from the drivers and the car over the coming weeks, but this was a solid start for the whole team, and we are now looking forward to the very different challenges posed by Jeddah Corniche Circuit.”
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