Williams pair Sargeant and Albon cannot hide delight

Both Williams drivers made it into Q2 for the first time this season

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Both Williams drivers, Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant, have expressed their satisfaction at the pace of their car around the Baku Street Circuit.

Following a frustrating Australian Grand Prix weekend, both Williams drivers produced stellar performances in Qualifying, breaking into Q2.

But Williams just couldn’t quite break into Q3, with Albon lining up 13th for Sunday’s Azerbaijan GP and Sargeant 15th, his best Qualifying to date in his young Formula 1 career.

“First Q2, finally, that feels good,” exclaimed Sargeant to the media.  “Happy to deliver the lap in Q1 late under pressure. That was a nice feeling.

“Good to see Alex having the pace there, and yeah, I went for it. I knew I needed to find something and made a few small mistakes which cost me in the end. 

“It’s good prep for tomorrow, and I am happy with the jump I’ve made from Practice to Qualifying.”

Alexander Albon of Williams Racing during Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2023 | Williams F1 Team

Albon enjoying the trickiness of Baku

For Albon, hopes of a second Q3 appearance in 2023 ended with a poor second run which was hampered by Carlos Sainz going down the escape road in the latter stages of Qualifying, forcing him to fight with his car

“Happy with the car, happy with the feeling of it and the pace generally this weekend,” said Albon to the media. “In that sense, happy, of course, but we missed out on Q3. 

“[It was] a tricky session. It was all happening with the red flag, but I felt as a team, we did a great job. It’s just I think I missed out on the final run in Q2. 

“I am still happy. I still feel it’s a good day. It’s exciting to see the fine margins as a driver equally, you have one snap, and that’s the difference as a driver.

“I enjoy that, but unfortunately, we got the wrong side of it.”

Alexander Albon of Williams Racing at Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2023 | Williams F1 Team

High hopes for the sprint

With two races taking during the weekend, Williams can score a good haul of points in Baku at a track that tends to throw up unpredictable races.

Midfield rivals Haas and Alfa Romeo go into Sunday’s race hoping to make up for today’s poor Qualifying. With Yuki Tsunoda eighth on the grid for AlphaTauri, the pressure will be on Williams for to snatch points.

“I think the car is in a good window,” said Sargeant. “Generally a low drag track, so I think as long as we have the balance in a good place, we’ll be good.”

“I will say honestly, in this qualifying, you have half an eye on the sprint race, and one and a half eyes on the main race said Albon.

“So we go into tomorrow hoping to go into [the race knowing] that we can [get] top 10. Maybe we’ll eek some points in the sprint race, too, so let’s see.”

Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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