Alex Albon was on cloud nine after qualifying for the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, having reached Q3 for the first time in 2023.
The British-Thai driver was one of the stars of qualifying in Melbourne as he put his Williams car eighth on the grid, just fractionally behind Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari.
Most notably, his car’s straight-line speed was evident with numerous purple sectors on the long back straight of Sector Two.
Albon was delighted with the result after a tricky practice session on Friday for the whole team given where their car was at this stage in 2022.
“Very happy, it felt pretty special today,” Albon told the media after qualifying. “I felt like we optimised everything.
“We came from Jeddah a bit disappointed and didn’t know what to do with the tyres so we came here with a gameplan for qualifying.
“Maybe others struggled out there compared to us which was the opposite last time out in Jeddah but I’m just very happy with the progress we’ve made over the last 12 months, it’s been amazing.”
Last season saw Williams have to luck their way into a points-paying position but Albon was there on merit in Melbourne after failing to finish the previous race in Saudi Arabia.
He now sees the midfield as a proper battle and one that may have a different leader at each circuit throughout the year.
“It’s a proper fight now,” Albon continued. “We’ve got the pace in the car that it’s only a couple of tenths to the top 10, that’s what we had in mind.
“In the end, we actually overtook those couple of tenths and added a couple of our own on top and that’s why we’re eighth.
“The motivation knowing that there are points available every weekend is amazing, I live for that. There’s a great energy in the team and hopefully we can keep that on.”