Albon: “A good points finish is what we needed” at F1 Italian GP with tough races ahead for the FW45

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Alex Albon continued his superb run of form at the Italian Grand Prix; after qualifying sixth yesterday, he pitted earlier than the rest of the top 12 to switch to hards from mediums; he defended from the fast McLaren cars behind him while nursing older hard tyres, but he was overtaken by Lewis Hamilton on much fresher mediums with five laps to go.

The Thai-British driver eventually gave Williams much-needed points while fending off Lando Norris in a battle to the finish line for 7th. The Grove-based squad are now 10 points clear of Haas in the fight for P7 in the Constructors’ Championship.

Alex Albon
Photo credit: Williams Racing

Speaking post-race, Albon noted that the Williams car was struggling through the last corner, but the impressive straight-line speed saved him against the McLarens. He also conceded they expected to struggle even before the Grand Prix as the laps to the grid were difficult.

“It was tricky because we were really weak in the last corner; we were actually good through Ascari, but slow in turn 11, it would always catch me out through there. The deg was huge; Logan and myself were coming into the race with the laps to the grid thinking it was going to be a really tough race.

“We didn’t have the pace today, but we had the straight-line speed, and that was what kept Lando behind; he must be very frustrated, I would be.”

Albon further explained how having strong braking performance into the first chicane was vital in his fight with the McLarens: “We were just about good enough at Turn 1 on the brakes that even though they have more downforce than us, it’s not a clean overtake for them. Every time they try to outbrake me, they tended to go wide.”

Albon expressed how this result was badly needed for the team in the battle for seventh against Haas and Alfa Romeo as he expects the next few races to be incredibly tough for a car that lacks downforce.

“I worry about tracks like Brazil (laughs), these kind of races. But we’re in a better place now. We needed that because, in the next few races, we’re not going to stand a chance until Vegas, so not to say we’re going to take our foot off the pedal, but a good points finish here is what we needed.”

Race day at Monza saw much higher track temperatures compared to qualifying. Albon believes this also played a role in their struggles as the tyre degradation was much higher on the FW45.

“We still see our weaknesses. We are low downforce, but we are better than we were last year. But especially when the track gets hot and the deg is high, we really struggle. And this is a race where we struggled on a track that should suit us.

“I think if the track was 20 degrees cooler, we would have been really fast. Maybe near where he qualified. Some work to do.”