Disappointed Albon 'wanted top five start' for Italian GP

© XPB 

Not too long ago, simply getting through to the final round of qualifying would have been cause for huge celebrations for the struggling Williams squad. But not anymore, as Alex Albon's reaction to today's outcome at Monza demonstrated.

Albon had been second quickest behind Max Verstappen in Q1 when everyone was on hard tyres, and fifth in Q2 with the mediums. He not only made it into Q3 but like Zandvoort was vying for a place on the second row on soft tyres.

But with the Ferrari drivers very much in form, and Red Bull also taking up two places on the front three rows, Albon will instead be in sixth where he will start ahead of Oscar Piastri, Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris and Fernando Alonso.

“Very good. A good weekend, a good session," he insisted, before admitting that really he had wanted more than P6. "In some ways a bit disappointing, because Q1 and Q2 were looking a bit stronger. But I was happy with my lap.

“I felt like we did a good job, we executed it well. It was just not quite top five," he sighed. "I guess in some ways that was a bit of an aim ... [But] we came into Monza hoping to get into Q3, so P6 is great!

Read also: Sainz gets it done, delights Ferrari fans with home pole

Whether he can sustain this in race pace is another question. "The pace on Friday wasn’t as good, we had a bit of degradation," he admitted. “We’ve been chipping away at it, because since FP1 the car’s actually been focused a bit more towards the race car than the qualifying car.

"Until qualifying we’ve been making changes to the car every session, as we struggled to dial it in a little bit, but then everything came together.

"We knew this track was going to suit us, but we need to use these weekends to pull further ahead in the constructors [standings], so let’s see what we can do tomorrow," he said. "I think the car’s feeling good.

"We have a great car and quick cars are ahead of us in terms of race pace, so in that sense it’s fine. If we can hold position against the Astons and the McLarens, I’ll be pretty happy."

Alexander Albon (THA) Williams Racing FW45. 02.09.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Monza, Italy, Qualifying Day. - www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Moy / XPB Images

Albon's rookie team mate Logan Sargeant also featured strongly in Q1, but couldn't duplicate the pace in the second round and will start from 15th.

"This whole weekend we’ve struggled to get any tyre other than the hard tyre working and that showed," he lamented. "We need to look into that as I felt really comfortable on the hard compound.

"We were really good with both cars, then I struggled a little on the medium. It was really good until we switched compounds and we’re not completely sure why.

"We haven’t done many long runs so it’s quite difficult to know exactly where we’re at for tomorrow," he added. "The goal is to move forward, and we should have the car to do it so let’s see what tomorrow brings.

"Alex was able to find improvements as we stepped through to the softer compounds, but Logan found it more difficult," added Williams' head of vehicle performance Dave Robson.

"Both drivers are in a position to attack the race tomorrow," he continued. "Logan has a bit more work to do but has a very good opportunity to race the cars ahead and secure a strong result."

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