Alex Battles to P13 at Paul Ricard
Alex Albon finished in P13 at the French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard, running another solid race in contention for points around Le Castellet.
Wind and hot temperatures amoungst a European heat wave in Le Castellet greated Formula One to Paul Ricard.
These conditions would be a factor all weekend, notably when a sudden wind speed increase during Alex's final run in Q1 of Qualifying made his Saturday a more difficult affair.
The gusts caused Alex to bail on his final run of that session, but his 1:33.423 would prove just good enough to progress to the second stage.
The Thai racer was the sole Williams fighting in the second stage of qualifying who set a 1:33.307 on his last run in Q2, initially good enough for P10 before eventually dropping to P15 - where he would start for Sunday's Grand Prix.
Alex made a solid start to the race, climbing one spot on the opening lap to P14.
The two drivers who picked up grid penalties for taking fresh power unit parts, Carlos Sainz and Magnussen, soon made their way through the field, making their way past our Alex.
On Lap 19, the strategy was changed in an instant when race leader Charles Leclerc lost control and hit the barrier, bringing out a full Safety Car.
Alex was immediately brought into the pits and almost ended up with a Ferrari in his sidepod after Sainz was unsafely released in pit lane - compromising his pit stop time.
We would be back in Green Flag conditions on Lap 21 with Alex now running in P11.
Alex engaged in a strong defence against the home favourite, Pierre Gasly. The Frenchman attempted an ambitious lunge on Lap 28 but overshot at the chicane meaning Alex's mirrors shifted from being full of AlphaTauri to the green of Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin.
With tyre life and fuel levels to preserve, Alex had to increase lift and coast but continued to hold on to his position whilst his teammate found himself in a fight with Gasly and Magnussen.
Alex continued to battle hard, once again now with Gasly as we entered the final 10 laps and, after some stellar defending, the Frenchman made his move, relegating Alex to P13.
A later Virtual Safety Car to retrieve Zhou Guanyu’s stricken Alfa Romeo briefly neutralised proceedings before Alex safely crossed the line in P13 at the Chequered Flag.
Alex Albon, Williams Racing Driver #23:
“It was tricky out there today but more enjoyable . We were in contention for most of the race and were looking close to the points - we were a bit down on pace and were using a lot of the tyres to try to stay close, and it just fell away from us towards the end.
“We'll look at the data and hopefully we can improve week on week as we were quite quick in qualifying. We'll look at it and see what we can do better for Hungary.”
The final race before the Formula One annual Summer Break takes place at the Hungaroring next weekend (29-31 July) for the Hungarian Grand Prix.