Albon “very happy” with P7 after bold strategy pays off: “We’ve got to push forwards now”

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Alex Albon delivered another strong performance on Sunday as he finished an excellent P7 in the Canadian Grand Prix.

The Thai driver had already been one of the stars of qualifying as he was fastest on the soft tyre in Q2 during a brief period where the track was dry enough for slicks.

Starting P9, he lost a place to Leclerc on the opening lap. However, his best work would come following the Safety Car.

Like most of the field, he pitted during that period. Unlike his main rivals on the day, though, he didn’t make a second stop. It meant Albon had to do 58 laps on the same set of tyres.

In the closing stages, he had Ocon, Norris, Bottas and Stroll right behind him.

The 27-year-old feared he wouldn’t be able to hold them off this time due to the closing speed at the end of the straight.

“We’ve been in that position a lot of times, and this was one of the times where I felt like the closing speed is a little bit too much.

“Sometimes you can see someone catching you from behind and you think, ‘I know as soon as they catch up to me, they’re not really going to be able to overtake me.’ But when it’s a second a lap and they’re coming in quick, it was tough.

“I just remember getting the call, you know, we’ve got 30, 40 laps left. And I was like, ‘what?’ You know, it’s not fun to drive around on old tyres, but we made it work.

“So I’m very happy. You know, we had a car that was slippery down the straights. I think everyone knows that.”

Due to the overcast and rather cool weather on Sunday at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, it allowed the Williams driver to lean aggressively on the hard tyre through the stint.

“Around this track, when the track was cool, the tyres were lasting. They were staying cool. I could afford to push on them.

“Normally, when you run the low downforce setup, it can sometimes hurt your tyre deg. But the tyre deg was OK, and we were just quick enough to stay in front.”

Days like Sunday are criticial for teams like Williams to capitalise on poor performances from drivers in quicker cars or going bold on strategy to grab big points. With the top four clearly locked in this year, plus the pace of Alpine at most venues, it’s proving extremely difficult to score points right now for the other five teams.

“It’s tricky now this year because you’ve basically got Aston Martin within the top four. You’ve got these eight positions that I don’t want to say are cemented every weekend, but they’re very hard to break. And then it’s the battle of ninth and tenth.

“When you look at ninth and tenth, it’s now likely [to be] an Alpine. It’s hard to break.”

Albon’s P7 has moved Williams ahead of AlphaTauri in the Constructors’ Championship. They’re now a single point behind Haas and two adrift of Alfa Romeo who sit in 7th overall.

“To be able to be best of the rest plus one in that seventh place is amazing. We really need them points. We’ve jumped AlphaTauri.

“It’s great to get get the points and got to push forwards now.”

Photo credit: Williams Racing