Alex's Amazing Australian Grand Prix Tyre Saving Masterclass
Alex Albon put in an incredible tyre management performance to secure P10 and his first points of the season in the Australian Grand Prix.
After showing signs of progress from Friday practice, the team ultimately endured a tough qualifying session for Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.
Alex missed out on the second phase of qualifying by just +0.031s, setting the 16th fastest time just before the session was red flagged with two minutes left on the clock.
A grid penalty following the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix relegated Alex to start from P20 for the Grand Prix in Melbourne.
After starting on the hard compound tyre, the Thai driver, who began in P20, stayed on the same set for 57 laps before switching to the softs on the final lap to come home in P10.
Alex maintained his position after a clean start before the Safety Car was brought out on Lap 3 to fetch Carlos Sainz’s beached Ferrari.
Lap 13 saw AA23 get past his teammate before NL6 boxed to ditch his medium tyres for a set of hards, coming out P19.
The race would be neutralised once again on Lap 24 after Sebastian Vettel hit the wall after T4 which allowed many drivers the chance to stop, including Nicky but not Alex, who jumped up to P10.
After a second Safety Car restart on Lap 27, everyone stayed out of trouble and Alex continued to find pace in his ageing rubber, finding himself in the middle of an eight-car battle for the points.
A Virtual Safety Car was deployed with just under 20 laps remaining after Max Verstappen's retirement, prompting yet more stops from which Alex benefited, climbing to P7.
As we got back up to racing speed on Lap 40, Alex’s Race Engineer, James Urwin, came over the radio to pass on some good news, saying: “You’re on Plan A plus 15.”
Alex's pace on the hard tyres remained strong, pulling away from Esteban Ocon behind and as drivers further back got caught up in a fight, the pair were able to open a gap.
With three laps to go, a points finish for Alex was on the cards and on Lap 57/58 he finally pulled in.
He was in a race at the pit exit, but Alex returned to the circuit ahead of Zhou Guanyu in P10, meaning all he had to do was keep it on the road… and he did it!
Crossing the line to secure his and the team's first points of the 2022 Formula One World Championship.
Alex Albon, Williams Racing Driver #23:
“I am very pleased with how today went! We came in this morning, looked at our race predictions starting from last and felt pretty sad, so to end Sunday with a point is extremely rewarding.
It was a race where we took risks and really allowed our tyres to get into a nice window, and from then they just felt better and better."
“I was putting in what felt like continuous qualifying laps for the last 25 laps of the race! For me, it really highlights the work that’s been done at the factory and at the track; this is the result of the team’s determination and motivation.
It’s been a great day and I’m really happy to have played my part in this for the team.”
After his excellent performance down-under, Alex will be back in Formula One action for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola on the 22-24 April.