The Williams Racing duo of Alex Albon and Nicolas Latifi both failed to make it through to Qualifying 2 in Saudi Arabia as a result of a red flag and struggles with the tyres. Albon, who was only able to qualify seventeenth after Latifi brought out the red flag, believes the pace to progress to the next session was there, but the cooler conditions and sensitive tyres made this a struggle.
“It was a tricky day. I felt we were capable of getting to Q2, but getting the tyres to work, especially at night-time when the temperature drops, becomes a little more difficult,” the British-Thai driver explained.
“We don’t have a bad car, but the tyres are very sensitive and we just missed the operating window. We have a bit of work to do but otherwise, in the race we should have good pace, so we can be positive on that side.”
“Overtaking is going to be tricky but hopefully we have a pace advantage.”
Latifi – “The car is feeling a bit better than it did in Bahrain, but we still have a lot of work to do
Latifi, who unfortunately hit the wall at turn 13 after losing the rear of the car under braking, brought out the red flag before all the drivers were able to complete their first runs of the session.
“It just seemed like I lost the rear under braking into Turn 13, so we need to look at the data to understand exactly why as it was the first time I became rear limited in that corner all weekend,” says the Canadian.
Despite the setback, Latifi feels the team has unlocked more performance since last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix – “It caught me by surprise quite a bit. I feel really sorry for the team because it was a costly mistake. It’s difficult to say at the moment about tomorrow; the car is feeling a bit better than it did in Bahrain, but we still have a lot of work to do. It will be a long race so we just have to be there.”
Last weekend’s season opener saw a strong thirteenth place finish for Albon, while Latifi finished in sixteenth. Williams will be hoping they can approach the point-scoring positions with their ‘better feeling’ car tomorrow evening.