REPORT: So close to points Down Under

Published on
24 Mar 2024
Est. reading time
3 Min

A professional drive from Alex Albon saw us finish P11 at Albert Park.

An incident-packed Grand Prix in Melbourne ultimately proved fruitless for the team, but a clean drive from our No.23 – as many others retired – demonstrated some promise for the season ahead.
Starting in P12, Alex was beaten into turn 1 by Valtteri Bottas, before Kevin Magnussen got past him at Turn 10 during the opening lap.
But there was no need to panic. Alex regained a place quickly when Max Verstappen retired with brake problems, before a pit stop on Lap 7 allowed him to leapfrog the Haas.
Lewis Hamilton brought out a Virtual Safety Car when his engine failed, and that threatened to benefit our rivals who were yet to pit – but Alex had enough in hand to ensure that he maintained the undercut on Pierre Gasly and Nico Hulkenberg.
A brief run in 10th ended when Alex made his second stop, and it was that final, 30-lap stint on the hard tyres that best demonstrated Alex’s tyre management skills.
Albono drove solidly thereafter, but couldn’t quite find the pace to break back into the top 10. A last-lap crash from George Russell at Turn 6 meant the race finished under the VSC, and it was P11 at the chequered flag for our Thai driver.
So close in Australia
So close in Australia
After the race, Alex commented that the "early pit stops were disguising our lack of race pace today; we tried to stay in the race by pitting early and getting back track position but ultimately the pace of our competitors was too strong.
"Every time I tried to match the pace with the cars around me, I would grain, and when I could do my own race, I was three and a half tenths off the pace.
"We had a lot of graining and were fighting the car everywhere, so we need to have a good look at why. With three of the top teams retiring, it’s frustrating that we couldn’t capitalise on this and our rivals did, but it shows our pace wasn’t quick enough to still be sitting outside the points.
"It’s been a tough weekend for us at Williams but we’ve pulled through quite well and really come together as a team. Everyone at the track has really dug deep so I can only thank them for their hard work and dedication and of course to Logan for being a true team player.
"Truthfully, I’m quite happy with my performance considering the circumstances but we’re going to continue to rally as a team and hopefully come back fighting in Japan."
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance, added, "Having not done any meaningful high fuel running until today, we started the race on the backfoot.
"We knew that graining would be an issue, especially after the mandated tyre pressures were increased on Friday night, however, we didn’t do enough to mitigate the issue and this left Alex stuck between front graining and rear tyre degradation.
"The car wasn’t quick enough in race trim this weekend, which left Alex having to find the laptime by pushing the tyres, which accelerated the degradation and left us unable to fight with the cars that we should be able to race with.
"For this to coincide with a race with so many fast cars retiring is even more frustrating as there is no reason why, with more experience from Friday, we couldn’t have been fighting Yuki for P8.
"It has been a difficult weekend for obvious reasons and whilst the attitude throughout the team has been very impressive, we all leave Melbourne disappointed by today’s result.
"We will be in Japan in two weeks’ time, and we look forward to tackling the very different demands of the great track in Suzuka."
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