Monaco points breakthrough sparks optimism for Albon


Relief and cautious optimism filled the air at Williams after Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix following Alex Albon’s run to P9 which marked driver and team’s first points of the year.

Albon, who had qualified in the same position in Saturday’s shootout, steered clear of the race’s opening lap commotion to take the second start from where he held his own to – with nothing gained and nothing lost – to conclude his afternoon among the top ten.

The Anglo-Thai racer acknowledged that the race itself had not been particularly exciting, but emphasized the importance of the result, especially in light of Williams’ frustrating start to its 2024 campaign.

“I feel it was maybe a bit of a boring one,” he admitted. “I wish I had a nicer race, more fun race to say how we scored our first points, but I’ll take that!

“P9 is great for us, it puts us on the board, puts us in a positive momentum for the next few. Last year it took us a while to get some points and then we really started to hit our stride.

“I don’t know why we can’t do that again – we’ve chipped away at the car, brought some small upgrades to the car and it’s paying off so, yeah, happy.”

After the race’s dramatic first lap crash between Sergio Perez and Kevin Magnussen which immediately triggered a red flag, the entire field opted to bolt on a fresh set of tyres during the recess which essentially neutralized any initial strategic plans.

After the restart, as everyone focused on preservation over outright pace, the race unfolded at a leisurely pace, although Albon felt that some overly conservative drivers had taken things a bit too cautiously.

“The pace was painfully slow!” he said. “I could see [Yuki Tsunoda in eighth] had pace and I just thought to myself, these guys are playing it way too safe! You can go a bit quicker – we got lapped after like 20 laps!

“But anyway, to be fair, at the end of the race it was tough, the tyres did degrade, but I didn’t think it needed to be so slow like it was.”

On the other side of the Williams garage, Logan Sargeant was the only driver who did not change tyres during the race’s stoppage, the American switching from hards to mediums on lap 57 of 78.

When asked why his team had opted to keep him on his original rubber during the pause, Sargeant also seemed puzzled by the choice.

“To be honest I’m not really sure,” he said. “I’ll see what the team thinks or what the process was but I think, with Alex going on the hard, we probably should have split [strategies].

“At the end of the day, it was a tricky race, obviously being stuck underneath Fernando [Alonso] and Danny [Ricciardo] for a long time – [Alonso] was making a gap for Lance [Stroll], I believe.

“It just started to eat away at the tyres, and I really had nothing left on that hard tyre.

“The rears just completely degraded and from there I was just hanging on. Once I put the new tyre on it felt great, but, yeah, oh well.”

“I would say in terms of single-lap [pace it was strong],” he concluded. “Today I have no idea about what actually went on behind the scenes, all I know is the struggle from inside the car.”

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