There was “almost race management going on in your qualifying laps trying to keep the tyres alive” — Albon unimpressed with Pirelli F1 tyres at Miami GP

Photo Credit: Williams Racing
Spread the love

Alex Albon starts P14 for the Miami Grand Prix as Williams continues to languish towards the back of the field this year. Only Sauber was slower on raw pace as Bottas and Guanyu got knocked out in Q1.

The Thai driver was far from happy with how the tyres behaved in Shanghai. Once again, he did not hide his feelings about the Pirelli tyres.

In the boiling heat of Miami, the tyres are overheating very quickly, as even the likes of Lando Norris and Max Verstappen have struggled to understand them.

Due to the fragility of the softs in particular, Albon said he was having to manage his tyres over a single lap like it was a race stint.

“More about tyres than anything else. It feels like China was a bit the same.

“You see, even here in qualifying, if you drive a bit quicker, you go slower. There’s a lot of almost race management going on in your qualifying laps trying to keep the tyres alive.

“The track is too hot for these tyres, and with all the pressure limits and everything going up each year, the tyres are struggling.

“And I think for us, it maybe hurts us a little bit more, just running a bit lighter on downforce and going for the straight line speed.

“We’re just having a bit more sliding in Sector 1. And by Turn 11, the tyres are totally gone. I mean, by Turn 6, 7, they’re holding on, and then by Turn 11 they’re definitely gone.

“And you’re playing around, doing different out laps. One lap, the fronts went off and that’s why I locked up in the final corner. The next lap, the rears go off.

“You’re just kind of dabbling around a little bit, and it’s tricky out there.

Asked if it was related to the heat, Albon mentioned how the tyres were in bother in Shanghai at the start of the lap as well on a weekend where it was quite cool concerning air and track temperature.

“China was the same. In Sector 1, if you push Sector 1 too hard, the tyre would also destroy itself.

“I think this track, especially with this track temperature, we know we struggle normally with a bit of a hot track. But yeah, it’s been challenging for us, for sure.

“Also, just in terms of when you run a low downforce set-up, a bit more locking going on, rear locking, front locking. It energises the tyre a bit too much.”

For Logan Sargeant, Miami has been an encouraging weekend so far. He finished a strong P10 in the Sprint as he avoided the first corner mess and showed good pace overall.

In Grand Prix qualifying, Sargeant lost a couple of tenths to Albon in Sector 1. Although he was faster in the final 2 Sectors than his teammate, he did not claw back the time.

The Floridian ultimately missed out on Q2 by 0.034s in P17 as Fernando Alonso just survived.

Speaking after qualifying, Sargeant was pleased with his work, even if he wishes he got a tiny bit more out of the car.

“I think it was a decent run. Of course I can say I could have squeezed a bit more out of it and got through to Q2.

“But most importantly I feel like the changes we made between the Sprint race and quali were in the right direction, which will ultimately help us for tomorrow [the race].

“I was happy with what I did today. I just wish I could have got a little bit more out of it.

After rumours about Sargeant’s future surfaced on Friday as the FIA confirmed a request was received about Andrea Kimi Antonelli getting a special dispensation to allow him to race in F1 before he turns 18, Sargeant was asked about how he’s feeling.

The American is pleased with the job he’s doing as the 23-year-old has looked more comfortable in F1 during his sophomore campaign.

“I am just doing my job the best I can. I mean jumping in from FP1 this weekend it’s the most comfortable I’ve felt all year. I feel like I was on it straight away.

“If I look since Australia I feel like it has been going relatively well for me. [Then] in Japan almost getting everything out of it.

“Of course China was disappointing but again here today I feel like I did a good job. Just looking for that last tenth.

“Nonetheless, just enjoying being home and keep delivering the best I can.”