F1 Miami GP “one of the most challenging races I’ve had” with Williams — Albon

Photo Credit: Williams Racing
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Alex Albon’s difficult start to 2024 continued with a P18 finish at the Miami Grand Prix last weekend.

The Thai driver was running in P14 when Williams decided to go aggressive on strategy that required a 47-lap stint on hards to make it to the end. The undercut did not pay off as the FW46 simply lacked the pace of their main rivals, and they had the slowest car along with Sauber in Miami.

The 2-time podium finisher explained that it was one of his hardest weekends since joining the team in 2022.

“We’ve been struggling all weekend; we haven’t had a smooth weekend. It’s one of the most challenging races, for sure, that I’ve had with the team. We’ve got to look and understand why it was so difficult.”

Williams did not put under Safety Car and took track position, moving up to P13.

After Hülkenberg overtook him on lap 41, Albon valiantly fended off Guanyu, Stroll, Ricciardo and the rest until the closing laps when his tyres properly started to give up. All the drivers behind him had much fresher tyres, with the aforementioned ones pitting behind the Safety Car to clear Logan Sargeant’s car.

“It’s true, we actually… if you look in reflection we didn’t have that bad pace, it’s just that the cars behind us were all on new tyres, so I was the backstop for everyone else.

“You can’t really hold off the guys when they’re on 25, 30-lap newer tyres than you. I think if we weren’t that last car, and we were a position or two ahead and there was someone else being the buffer, we would have been okay.”

On lap 52, Albon had a monstrous lock-up as he tried to defend against Ricciardo for P15 into turn 11, ultimately forcing him to box for new tyres.

Unbeknownst to the Thai driver at the time as he explained what happened, Albon had sustained floor damage previously as he repeated what happened to Verstappen earlier in the race.

“It’s so dirty off-line here. You’re defending… but you know you shouldn’t really be defending.

“It’s putting dirt on your tyres and when you brake, you lock up. It’s one of those ones where honestly… you didn’t really want to defend, but you had to [in order] to keep the position.”