Albon on fantastic P7 in F1 Qatar GP sprint: Our pace was “so much quicker” due to the wind dropping

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The Williams driver was the biggest mover of the day, with a brilliant driving performance that saw him earning points after a tough qualifying session.

After getting his last lap time deleted in the earlier Sprint Shootout, Albon started the 19-lap race in P17, and in the early stages he was passed by Tsunoda.

In a chaotic race with five retirements and three safety cars, he was ultimately able to move up, passing Alonso for the final points-scoring position on the final lap. He overtook six cars on his way to that position.

His P8 was improved to a P7 after Charles Leclerc’s five seconds time penalty for track limits, allowing him to score even more points

After the end of the first 2023 Sprint race where he scored points, the Thai driver was extremely pleased with the great performance. He believed the key factor was the drop in wind speed, a sensitive thing for Williams cars in recent years.

Photo credit: Williams Racing

Both him and his teammate Logan Sargeant struggled in the sprint shootout, getting knocked out in SQ1..

“I didn’t expect it, that’s for sure. Helped a little bit with the carnage – but super quick as well for our relative pace compared to where we’ve been this weekend honestly.”

The improved weather conditions, due to the lack of strong windsnwhich had affected them in the earlier qualifying session, combined with the right strategical call of starting on the mediums, saw a great result come to them:

“[Our pace was] so much quicker, I think almost half a second to a second quicker than our average pace so far this weekend. All helped by the wind, honestly – the wind dropping has transformed our car.

Another key area for Albon was managing his tyres early in the races. It allowed him to go on his charge towards the end.

“A lot of management early in the stint and I could push quite hard after that.”

Asked about the change in the track limits at turn 12 and turn 13, he admitted that it is an “annoyance”, especially having seen other drivers going over the white lines, especially Charles Leclerc.

Ultimately after the sprint, Leclerc, who had gone over the track limits four times on the last lap, was punished with a five seconds time penalty.

Albon feels something needs to change as drivers continue to go out of bounds.

“I mean, for us it isn’t really clearly different. Obviously, more of an annoyance that we try to manage.

“I was behind the Ferraris on the last lap, and they did all the track limits three or four times in the one lap where I was behind them [Leclerc].

“I wonder what they are going to do about it, because I think there is no way that the drivers were respecting it, so let’s see…” he concluded.