Alexander Albon scored his first point as a Williams Racing driver in the Australian Grand Prix, with the Thai driver putting in a tremendous stint on one set of tyres before ducking into the pits on the final lap to deny Zhou Guanyu tenth place.
Albon’s pace on the hard compound tyre was strong throughout the race, and the gamble to leave the pit stop to the last possible moment paid off as he came out of the pit lane just ahead of Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN’s Zhou, and he held off the Chinese driver until the chequered flag.
The former Red Bull Racing driver said to leave Albert Park with a point was ‘extremely rewarding’ and it moves Williams off the bottom of the Constructors’ Championship ahead of the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team.
“I am very pleased with how today went,” said Albon. “We came in this morning, looked at our race predictions starting from last and felt pretty sad, so to end Sunday with a point is extremely rewarding.
“It was a race where we took risks and really allowed our tyres to get into a nice window, and from then they just felt better and better. I was putting in what felt like continuous qualifying laps for the last 25 laps of the race!
“For me, it really highlights the work that’s been done at the factory and at the track; this is the result of the team’s determination and motivation. It’s been a great day and I’m really happy to have played my part in this for the team.”
“It seemed that we struggled with the tyres quite a lot” – Nicholas Latifi
Team-mate Nicholas Latifi did not have the same kind of pace during the race at Albert Park, and struggles with tyre graining forced him into an unplanned second pit stop and an eighteenth place finish.
The Canadian admitted he was expecting the race to be tough after struggling on high fuel during free practice, and he says he has been unable to extract the same kind of performance from his FW44 as Albon has on the other side of the garage.
“It was definitely a tricky race, but we were expecting that after the FP2 high fuel running that we did,” said Latifi. “It seemed that we struggled with the tyres quite a lot, experiencing graining on both compounds and struggling to keep them in the right window.
“There was a lot going on with multiple safety cars and Virtual Safety Car periods. It was great to see Alex finish P10 in the end and I’m super happy for the whole team.
“It’s been a difficult start to the season and there’s still a lot to find on my side. If Alex is able to extract that performance out of the FW44 then there’s no reason why we can’t in the other car.
“We will now spend a lot of time looking through the data and understand how we can make it work.”