Dave Robson admitted that the Williams Racing team came to the Autodromo Nazionale Monza believing they could score points, and they were able to achieve that thanks to the excellent drive put in by Alexander Albon.
Logan Sargeant may have missed out on the top ten as he finished down in thirteenth, but Albon was one of the stars of the weekend in Italy, the Thai driver qualifying sixth before putting on a strong defensive drive to ensure seventh on Sunday, equalling his best result so far this season.
He lost only one position during the race to Lewis Hamilton, with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver running a different strategy to do so, but Albon was able to withstand race-long pressure from the two McLaren F1 Team drivers until the chequered flag.
Robson, the Head of Vehicle Performance at Williams, admitted that the hot conditions at Monza were not helpful for the team, but to put in such a strong performance despite this and the high degradation to the tyres was good news for everyone within the Grove-based team.
“We came to Monza thinking that we could score points on merit and we achieved that today,” said Robson. “The hot conditions were not ideal for us, but we know that this is an area that we need to work on, and we are working hard to improve the situation.
“Both drivers were very good, especially given the high tyre degradation and hot conditions. Alex was brilliant again and was able to frustrate the McLarens for almost the entire race.
“It was a shame that he couldn’t stay within five seconds of Lewis at the end, but to lose only one position following a very strong showing in Qualifying is an excellent result.”
Despite missing out on points once again, Robson believes Sargeant will learn a lot by what he was forced to do in Italy, particularly surrounding tyre management with soft tyres on a very hot track with a low downforce set-up.
“Logan drove very well and for a time it looked like he could secure a points-scoring position,” said Robson. “In the end Valtteri [Bottas] had too much pace and was able to overtake.
“Nonetheless, racing at low downforce on a hot track and with soft compounds is a very valuable experience and one that he can build on, starting in Singapore in two weeks’ time.”