Promising Performance by Alex in Zandvoort
Alex Albon put in another battling drive in the Dutch Grand Prix, challenging hard for the top-10 positions in a promising performance at Zandvoort from Williams Racing.
Following just a week after 'that Spa defence', Thai driver Alex Albon was back in action around Zandvoort - his first time at the circuit in Formula One machinery.
The pace of the FW44 was again apparent at the rollercoaster Zandvoort circuit, with the 287km/h speed trap in Sector 2 seeing us match Red Bull’s qualifying speed and helping push Alex into Q2.
Alex’s Q2 running was interrupted by a red flag, yet he still set two times in the gaps between other runners good enough for P10, before late laps from our rivals saw him exit Q2 with a P15 starting position for tomorrow’s race.
Overtaking around Zandvoort is particularly challenging, which was part of the decision to why Alex began his race on the yellow-walled medium tyres, contrary to his rivals, and committed to an early two-stop strategy with a second set before a final run on hards.
The strategy allowed him to progress up from P15 on the grid on a day the man himself says he “did better than I expected.”
With such a high-downforce circuit and the FW44 better suited to the high-speed tracks as we saw last week at Spa-Francorchamps, gaining positions today shows promising progress for the rest of the season, no matter the circuit.
The late Safety Car saw the field drive through the pit lane and bunched the pack up for the final push to the flag, yet even with Nicky helping Alex by keeping the Thai driver’s path to those ahead clear when car No23 lapped him, it was just outside the points this time.
There are positives to take from a race with such different characteristics from last weekend, and it’s a rapid turnaround for the upcoming Italian Grand Prix in just one week.
Visibly encouraged by the FW44’s performance at Zandvoort, Alex was pleasantly surprised by his P12 reporting back after the race saying:
Alex Albon, Williams Racing Driver #23:
“I think coming into today, we didn't have high expectations, so think we've proven we're not too far away from the points."
"We didn't expect much from the high downforce circuit, so it's positive and I think going forward we won't be so scared of these types of circuits and can focus on fighting for points. I was happy with the car, despite just lacking a bit of lap time.”
“There's still a little bit to find, but we can work on this and look at what we can do, as right now we're fine tuning the package and know its limitations. It's not points but it's a good job.”
The third leg in the triple-header concludes at Monza this weekend for the Italian Grand Prix on the 9-11 September. a circuit where the prominent straight-line speed of the Williams Racing FW44 could make Alex a dark horse for the weekend.