“You suddenly go a second and a half quicker” — Sargeant explains how costly blue flags were during F1 Imola GP

Photo Credit: Williams Racing
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Logan Sargeant’s weekend at the Imola Grand Prix was a frustrating one. After seemingly qualifying P17 on Saturday, his lap time got deleted due to track limits, placing him on the back row as Fernando Alonso started in pit lane. With only one DRS zone on the track, overtaking is a difficulty and grid positions play an important role.

Sargeant started the race on hard tyres to extend his first stint to gain as many positions as possible. He managed to defend against those who pitted earlier —including Tsunoda and Hülkenberg for a number of laps — allowing him to climb up to P13 at one stage.

On lap 33 he pitted for mediums which saw him to drop to P19. He overtook Valtteri Bottas with a couple of laps remaining to make up a spot.

The American explained the second stint was much harder due to the dirty air and picking up marbles on his tyres as multiple blue flags were issued as he had to get out of the way for the leading drivers and teams.

On laps he could push without blue flag concerns, he gained over a second and a half.

The lap times back Sargeant up. He was able to pump in 1:21s without slowing for blue flags, and they would drop 1:23s when he needed to get out of the way.

“Not great for sure. I think that the hard part was just where we were in that first stint, trying to defend from the cars behind. Followed by the second stint just being very, very blue flag and dirty air interrupted.

“I think when we did get our little gaps in clean air, things were looking a lot better. But yeah, I just, with the positioning we were on track today, it made it really difficult to do much.

“I think it comes back to, particularly, I mean, the first stint is always the first stint, dirty air racing at the start, it’s always tricky.

“But that second stint was much more of a handful than it needed to be, just due to the amount of blue flags we had. That ultimately gets dirt on your tyres, dirty air, fighting other cars.

“When we found our gaps in clean air, you suddenly go a second and a half quicker out of nowhere and it just shows it’s a degradation limit.”

Williams is one of the two teams who have yet to score a point this season.