Alex Albon feeling “really happy” after qualifying P6 for tomorrow’s F1 Italian GP

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Alex Albon believes another top ten finish is possible for Williams in tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix after yet another impressive qualifying performance sees the Thai driver start from P6.

Alex Albon on track during qualifying for the 2023 Italian Grand Prix
Photo: @WilliamsRacing on twitter

Alex Albon has shown his potential time and time again in 2023 with Williams, and today’s Italian Grand Prix qualifying session was no different, with Albon securing another Q3 appearance and an eventual P6 qualifying position.

“We came into here hoping to get into Q3…”

Speaking after the session, Albon said Williams arrived at Monza with Q3 as a target. With P6 secured in qualifying, his focus had already moved to tomorrow’s Grand Prix, predicting the team’s capabilities in race trim.

“We came into here hoping to get into Q3,” he said following the session. “So P6 is great. We had a good car [but] quick cars are ahead of us on race pace so in that sense it’s fine. We’re not really racing them it’s the Aston [Martin]s the McLarens, maybe we can do something against them.

“So we’ll see, but yeah, really happy. That was the first kind of normal qualifying session we’ve had in so long. Weird in some ways, so many laps to build on it, into your final Q3 lap.”

“Until quali we were changing the car every session.”

When pushed on the team’s apparent pure pace compared to those around them, Albon was quick to highlight that the circuit characteristics of Monza are suited to the Williams car, with the team expecting to perform well. He did clarify, however, that despite a difficult start to the weekend, the car felt good during qualifying.

“Yes,” he replied jokingly. “Around Monza, but yes. The cars been feeling good, but honestly, until quali we were changing the car every session. [It’s been] one of the weekends where we haven’t hit the ground running like, for example, Zandvoort.

“We took a bit longer this weekend, but by qualifying we were dialled in, the car feels good. We got quite a lot of rear deg for Sunday, but we’ll see how it goes.”

“We have to keep pushing on and try and get those points.”

Albon was also asked if today’s performance indicates an overall jump in performance for the Williams team. He remained elusive, however, saying it was difficult to say as the team had expected to perform well this weekend regardless.

Once again looking at the bigger picture, he was also quick to highlight the importance this weekend has in terms of Williams’ constructors’ championship position.

“It’s still hard to say as this track was always going to suit us. I was actually quite surprised that the AlphaTauri was so competitive. We need to use these weekends to try and pull that gap across that constructors’ championship.

“Realistically, apart from here and Vegas, that’s kind of it. So we have to keep pushing on and try and get those points.”

“Pirelli have been a bit too aggressive.”

Albon also discussed the impact of Formula 1’s new alternative tyre allocation, which sees a reduced number of dry weather tyres provided over the weekend as well as mandates running hard tyres in Q1, the medium compound in Q2 and finally the soft compound in Q3.

He believes the team’s preparations during final practice allowed them to remain competitive on all three compounds throughout the three qualifying sessions. He did however criticise Pirelli’s tyre selection for the Grand Prix weekend.

“It’s ok,” he said of the changed qualifying format. “That’s why in FP3 we ran all three sets [of tyres]. It gave us a good direction in terms of front wing level, out lap preparation, so I think we did a really good job to get the car dialled in.

“I think from Hungary we learned, we didn’t use a set of hard tyres and we were out in Q1. We knew we had the pace this weekend so we didn’t want to do the same mistake. It’s fine actually. I think this weekend, Pirelli have been a bit too aggressive. The soft tyres are like marshmallow. I think the medium tyre is a good soft tyre lets say, it’s pretty obvious, everyone’s strategy tomorrow.”