Williams Racing’s FW45 fulfilled its high-speed potential with a P6 qualification in an incredibly tight qualifying session at the Temple of Speed, Monza.
Another Q3 appearance for Alex had our No23 fighting for the top positions for a second consecutive weekend, eventually taking sixth place as the chequered flag fell.
With such similar lap times on Formula 1’s fastest circuit, every tenth counts, and Logan made it to Q2 with a P6-worthy time, before bowing out in P15.
The Alternative Tyre Allocation format meant each driver had to run hard tyres in Q1, mediums in Q2, and softs in Q3, and Alex completed each session comfortably in the top 10.
Albono’s 1:20.760 in the final moments has him lining up alongside Sergio Pérez for tomorrow’s race, with Sarge ready to fight forwards from his midfield position after setting a 1:21.944 in Q2.
“Well done Alex. Great laps. Really, really well done,” were the team radio words from a delighted James Vowles as he oversaw Williams Racing’s fifth Q3 appearance in the last seven race weekends.
Elsewhere, our day began with silverware as Williams Racing Driver Academy’s Franco Colapinto won the final F3 Sprint Race of 2023 to jump up to P2 in the championship standings.
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It’s mission accomplished for Alex, who explains: “We came into Monza hoping to get into Q3, so P6 is great!
“We have a great car and quick cars are ahead of us in terms of race pace, so in that sense it’s fine. If we can hold position against the Astons and the McLarens, I’ll be pretty happy.”
Even though the pace of his FW45 has looked quick in Free Practice, Alex detailed that the team continued looking for improvements.
“The car has been feeling good and until Qualifying, we’ve been making changes to the car every session, as we struggled to dial it in a little bit, but then everything came together.
“We knew this track was going to suit us, but we need to use these weekends to pull further ahead in the Constructors’, so let’s see what we can do tomorrow. “
The Alternative Qualifying Allocation’s requirement for specific compounds hampered Logan’s Saturday afternoon.
“This whole weekend we’ve struggled to get any tyre other than the Hard tyre working and that showed,” said Sarge after finishing qualifying.
“We need to look into that as I felt really comfortable on the Hard compound and we were really good with both cars, then I struggled a little on the Medium.
“It was really good until we switched compounds and we’re not completely sure why. We haven’t done many long runs so it’s quite difficult to know exactly where we’re at for tomorrow.”
The high speeds of the FW45 are cause for optimism, and Logan concludes on a hopeful note for the race.
“The goal is to move forward, and we should have the car to do it so let’s see what tomorrow brings.
Williams Racing’s Head of Vehicle Performance Dave Robson noted how the second running of today’s qualifying format made for a different day.
“Like yesterday, the ATA format led to some mixed approaches in FP3, but we were happy that we got most our work done as intended.
“In contrast, Qualifying is more prescribed than usual with tyre compounds mandated for each of the three sections.
“Both drivers were very strong on the Hard compound in Q1 and both were happy with their cars. Alex was able to find improvements as we stepped through to the softer compounds, but Logan found it more difficult.”
Dave also noted that the format makes everything more challenging for the team and driver than a standard qualifying session.
“This qualifying format is tricky and asks more of the drivers and team than usual, especially at a track where it is important to balance the tyre preparation with the Race Director’s prescribed pace, whilst also getting the ideal gap to the car in front.
“The car showed decent pace in the limited high fuel running yesterday and both drivers are in a position to attack the race tomorrow.
“Logan has a bit more work to do but has a very good opportunity to race the cars ahead and secure a strong result.”
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