Six more points are in the bag for Williams Racing as Alex Albon battled his way to a tight P7 finish in the 2023 Italian Grand Prix.
The 51-lap event had Albono defending hard through much of the race against both McLaren drivers and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton before securing a sensational seventh place.
Two additional formation laps delayed the race start, and Alex lost out to Oscar Piastri in the opening lap before using the FW45’s straight-line speed advantage to get back past early on.
An early pit stop meant our Thai racer had to hang onto a set of Hard tyres for 35 laps, with Hamilton getting past in the closing laps but the chasing Lando Norris couldn’t find a route by.
In the sister Williams Racing car, Logan Sargeant improved up the order in a tricky day fighting forward from a P15 start.
A mixture of pit strategies and a five-second penalty for a collision meant Sarge’s final classification had him P13, with the American also racing a long stint on the hard tyre.
The Monza feel-good factor began earlier in the day too — Williams Racing Driver Academy’s Zak O’Sullivan took the vice-champion title in F3 by securing P2 in the season-finale Feature Race, bringing home his fifth 2023 trophy.
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“That was probably my toughest but my most proud race I’ve done,” said Alex after bringing his FW45 home in P7, continuing to say, “I’m very happy. I’m sure Lando didn’t enjoy that one too much, but I did!
“We went into today knowing it was going to be a tough, long race and we knew tyre deg would be high.
“I think on paper we went into this weekend expecting to be a little bit quicker than we were and four laps into the race I knew it would be long, but we managed to keep everyone behind.”
The long tyre strategy helped Alex keep position, but it did make for a long day of defending.
“We were on used Mediums and used Hards so we made it tough for ourselves; I wouldn’t want to do that race again but I’m super happy with the result.
“Scoring points two races in a row is really enjoyable. From where we were at the start of the year to now is amazing.
“I don’t think the next few races will be easy for us so let’s enjoy these ones.”
For Logan, the tyre strategy meant he also had a long run on a single set of Pirellis.
He said, “It was a tricky race in general. We tried to make the one stop work after boxing early for the Hards, and I think it was just a bit too long on that stint considering the balance I had in the race, but, unfortunately, there was nothing we could do to get the car in the right window today.
“I struggled to keep hold of the Hard tyres and suffered quite a bit of oversteer. If we had the car in a better window we could have held on until the end.”
With a one-week break before the flyaway events begin, Logan concluded by sharing his thoughts on the upcoming rounds.
“Looking at the next races, we will keep working really hard, try to put the car on the ground in a good window, and hopefully have good pace.”
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“We came to Monza thinking that we could score points on merit and we achieved that today,” summarises Dave Robson, our Head of Vehicle Performance at Williams Racing.
“The hot conditions were not ideal for us, but we know that this is an area that we need to work on, and we are working hard to improve the situation.
“Both drivers were very good, especially given the high tyre degradation and hot conditions. Alex was brilliant again and was able to frustrate the McLarens for almost the entire race.”
Hamilton picked up a five-second penalty for making contact with Oscar Piastri and the Briton finished one place ahead of Alex, which Dave reflects on, saying, “It was a shame that he couldn’t stay within 5 seconds of Lewis at the end, but to lose only one position following a very strong showing in Qualifying is an excellent result.
“Logan drove very well and for a time it looked like he could secure a points-scoring position. In the end Valtteri had too much pace and was able to overtake.
Nonetheless, racing at low downforce on a hot track and with soft compounds is a very valuable experience and one that he can build on, starting in Singapore in two weeks’ time.”
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