Formula 1’s first of three races in the United States in 2023 brought with it a frustrating afternoon for Williams Racing, with both drivers unable to make a challenge up the order.
An early stop for wing damage meant local favourite Logan Sargeant was cut adrift by the end of the third lap. He was left hoping for a Safety Car to bring him back into play, but this never came as all 20 cars finished in a race that didn’t even see a single yellow flag waved.
Alex Albon enjoyed a cleaner opening tour of the Miami International Autodrome, only dropping one position to P12 on the opening lap which placed him firmly in the fight for the final points-paying positions.
Our Thai racer soon found himself in the middle of a DRS train that was being led by Valtteri Bottas in P10, with Nico Hulkenberg following him. As Alex began to manage his tyres, he was passed by Lewis Hamilton on the 15th lap whilst others ahead began to make their stops.
The Williams Racing Miami Collection
Alex extended his opening stint on the medium compound before stopping on Lap 23, coming back out in P17 before he made a neat move on Lando Norris just five tours later to elevate his position.
Those that had started on the hard tyre ahead would soon begin to pit and the order began to filter itself out, with Alex running as high as P12 with 15 laps to go.
Yuki Tsunoda and Lance Stroll would both make successful moves on Alex in the closing stages before our No23 soon reeled in Bottas once more, but he wouldn’t be able to make a pass on the Finnish driver, crossing the line in P14.
It was a quiet afternoon for Logan who came home in P20, but our American rookie displayed some exemplary tyre management skills to complete 54 laps on the same set of hard tyres, the most of anyone in the field.
“It was quite a tricky race; we just didn’t have the pace today,” Alex explained after the race.
“I think we went into it thinking we were the ninth quickest car and today we probably were.
“We were managing the front and rear tyres but I didn’t really have grip, so I was sliding around.
“The tracks coming up don’t tend to suit our car and there’s a few upgrades coming from other teams, so we just need to get on top of it so they don’t pull away from us.
“There are some positives to take from the weekend but races like today expose us a little bit and show where we really are.”
Logan was apologetic for the contact he made on the opening lap when we caught up with him, saying: “I put the car in a place I shouldn’t have in Lap 1 and took my front wing off. From there it was a difficult afternoon.
“Sorry to the team for my mistake. Once we went back out for the long stint on the Hard tyre, I felt like I managed it quite well. The tyres were struggling by the end but that was to be expected.
“On a normal strategy, our pace would’ve been pretty solid all things considered. Despite today, I still loved the weekend.”
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance, summarised the race as a whole from his viewpoint on the pit wall, sharing: “We didn’t quite have the pace today to challenge the top ten.
“We thought that we had enjoyed a good day yesterday and were probably starting the race with Alex a few places higher than the FW45’s natural pace.
“In a rare race with no retirements, no rain, and no flags or safety cars, we weren’t able to hold our position.
“Nonetheless, Alex had a good race with Valtteri and Nico and for a while, it looked like he would beat both of them.
“Alex drove well and pushed the car hard trying to hold position and this led to some tyre degradation.
“Logan was ambitious on the opening lap and damaged his front wing in a minor contact with Lance.
“We took the opportunity to pit him, change his wing and get into some free air. He had a lonely race from there but still showed some decent pace, despite some floor damage, during a very long stint on the Hard tyre.
“He can still take a lot from today and can take that learning into a tricky triple-header, starting in Imola in two weeks.”
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