China Report: Day 2
A P14 start for Alex in Shanghai
Published
20 Apr 2024
Est Reading Time
2 min
Day 2 in Shanghai is complete, with improvement being the word of the day after Alex secured P14 on the grid for tomorrow’s Chinese Grand Prix. Let’s recap how Albono fared across the day, including in the earlier Sprint race.
Saturday started with the first Sprint race of the season, and with just 19 laps, it was always going to be a tough ask to make any serious headway up the field from his P18 grid spot.
Alex did enjoy a clean getaway but was passed by Yuki Tsunoda at the hairpin towards the end of the final tour.
Keen to ensure he could battle at the end of the Sprint, Alex opted to hold back whilst those ahead fought in a DRS train.
After the halfway stage, Alex started to reel in those ahead, with a vulnerable Nico Hulkenberg now the driver immediately in front and within striking range.
On Lap 11, Albono sent it up the inside of Turn 1 after going wheel-to-wheel with the German racer since the hairpin.
Battles further up the order saw Albono gain another place when Fernando Alonso picked up a puncture and was eventually forced to retire.
As the chequered flag fell, Alex crossed the line in P17, just over a second behind Tsunoda ahead.
With parc fermé conditions lifted after the Sprint, Alex and his Williams Racing team were free to alter the setup of his FW46 ahead of Qualifying.
A Q1 banker time of 1:35.729 was improved upon on his final push, setting a 1:35.384 before, one by one, those behind set their times.
However, this was enough to send Alex through to Q2 for the fifth time this season.
In the second knockout stage, Albono sat P11 after his first flying lap thanks to a 1:35.271, before a red flag halted proceedings when Carlos Sainz tagged the barrier at the final corner.
The Spaniard got his car back to the pits and with six minutes left on the clock, we were back underway shortly after.
A green final sector saw Alex shave three-hundredths off his previous best, with a 1:35.241 good enough for P14 on the grid for Sunday’s race.
Alex will be looking to fight his way through the field and take advantage of any opportunities that come his way on Sunday in Shanghai…
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