“It’ll all be about graining” — Albon happy with P9 in F1 Monaco GP qualifying but worried about race pace

Photo Credit: Williams Racing
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It was an impressive show of qualifying for Alexander Albon today at Monaco, finishing P9 with a 1:10.948, with only 0.648 between him and polesitter Charles Leclerc. It is also the first Q3 appearance of the Williams team this season.

While they have been dealing with difficulties throughout the development of the FW46 car, it shows a sign better times to come for Albon and the Williams team.

“I’m just really happy, I feel like, just genuinely we’ve been in a good way this weekend, from FP1 we’ve been feeling confident in the car, and then also what’s different about this qualifying session to most is, I felt like I could push, a lot of the times I feel limited by not being able to always push because I was damaging the tyres too much and overheating them. t

“That’s kind of been the story of the year so far, where I’ll do a good Q1 but then I can’t get, I can’t drive much quicker without overheating the tyres, whereas this weekend it just felt like every lap you could push more and more and more, you weren’t losing the tyres in sector three, and that was a lot of fun.”

For Williams, according to Albon, their strategy was about prepping the tyres and getting the right amount of grip. He says it’s a positive spiral as if they get the tyre grip on turn one, it will last until the end of the lap.

“For us, I can’t speak for everyone, but a lot of it was about tyre prep and getting the tyres in the window. When you can go into turn one and the grip’s there and you’re not sliding the surface, you just get this positive spiral. You can get the grip, turn one, you’re not spiking the temps on the tyre and then you’re just keeping that for the rest of the lap.

“That’s partly why we chose a clean out lap for Q3. Just get the tyres in the right window and that gives you confidence. When you know the tyre’s underneath you, you can just push.”

The biggest issue for them has been the times when the car has to go for three wheels, turns 5 and 6 have been a particular issue for them. According to Albon, to fix that issue, they have to compromise with a slower lap time, however they found a middle ground for the car in this track.

“Our biggest issue’s been not so much the ride, but three wheeling. Turn five, turn six, these very big cambered corners, it’s a bit like a dog. We’re on three legs around there.

“It’s OK, but it makes us lose time basically. To fix that, you then have to compromise the rest of the lap. It’s been an area we’ve been focusing on throughout the weekend. We made some changes in FP3 which went the right way.

“We’re still slow relatively in sector two, but less slow than we were for the rest of the weekend.

“That’s been the main thing for us, and also the weight. We’ve been carrying this ballast now, it’s no secret. Monaco’s great because it’s the only track where the weight’s not that penalising.

“It makes it a fairer game for us compared to previous races.”

Another issue the team will be facing is the graining of the tyres during the race trim. It is an unknown how much they’ll be affected by it, however their practice sessions show that it was not a good look in the long runs.

They hope that the drivers in the front pull away quickly so he can havesome clean air.

“It’ll all be about graining, I think everyone’s going to be talking about it, I think we’ve been worst affected, normally last year we were the worst affected by it, our long runs yesterday were also pretty badly affected by it, let’s see, I think if we can get some clean air, let the quick guys just go away, it will be okay, but yeah let’s see.”