REPORT: Sprint Qualifying complete

Published on
19 Apr 2024
Est. reading time
3 Min

A disappointing start to Sprint in 2024

It was an early exit for Williams Racing from the first Sprint Qualifying of 2024 in China, with Alex setting the 18th fastest time and Logan the 20th.
The two had just one hour of Free Practice to prepare for the short-form qualifying format, ending FP1 sitting P8 and P15 in a more encouraging session.
Without any Formula One running at the Shanghai International Circuit since 2019, all the drivers had to contend with an evolving track during the two sessions.
A threat of rain lingered for Sprint Qualifying, further complicating our running, and a race to exit the pit lane ensued shortly after the green light.
Alex and Logan were some of the earliest to venture out and get a lap on the board but were at risk of an early exit while others improved as the grip levels improved.
Although each secured better lap times on a second run, Albono’s 1:37.720 and Sarge’s 1:37.923 weren’t enough to get into SQ2.
Fortunately, the updated Sprint weekend format means our engineers can check the data overnight and make setup adjustments after the chequered flag flies in tomorrow’s 19-lap race, where we’ll seek to advance through the order.
Sprint qualifying in China.
Sprint qualifying in China.
Alex reflected on his opening day of the Chinese Grand Prix weekend by saying:
"Tough session today. We were the first cars out, so the track was still very green, which damaged the tyres.
"We tried to go for a second lap at the end of SQ1 but the tyres were gone and we didn’t have the grip.
"I don’t know if SQ2 was a possibility today, but I think there was potential to be in a better position than we are.
"We’ll treat the Sprint race as a session to learn more about the car ahead of Qualifying."
Logan’s Sprint Friday was his first day on the Shanghai International Circuit, and our American said:
"Mixed feelings today, as like Japan, I feel like I did a decent job but unfortunately that’s placed me at the back of the grid.
"I felt like there’s a little bit more in the car but I’m sure everyone else can say the same.
"The track was extremely slippery today with low grip which made it difficult. We have our homework to do overnight.
"The good thing is Parc Fermé opens again after the Sprint race to allow us to change some things.
"We’ll use the Sprint to pick up the learnings for the race on Sunday and, of course, figure out what we can do better in Qualifying tomorrow."
Dave Robson, our Head of Vehicle Performance explained how he viewed Friday:
"Today was tough and we struggled in both sessions to generate good grip on the Medium tyre.
"The light rain between the sessions didn’t help and made the conditions at the start of the Qualifying session quite tricky.
"We will use the Sprint race session tomorrow to help prepare for the Grand Prix and use the opportunity before tomorrow’s Qualifying session to make some setup changes."
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