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“Peaky” upgraded Williams F1 car good, but harder to drive

Luke Smith

Williams brought a slew of updates to the FW44 car to the British Grand Prix last week in a bid to improve his form on the track after a tough spell in which he failed to score points since finishing ninth in Miami.

Albon debuted the updated parts at Silverstone but failed to make it through Q1 and was then overtaken in a first corner accident after being hit from behind by Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin.

Williams completed repairs on Albon’s car ahead of this weekend’s race in Austria, enabling Albon to reach Q2 for the second time this season and achieve his best qualifying result of the year, finishing 12th on the grid for the sprint race from Saturday.

Albon praised the work of his Williams crew to complete repairs on his car before this weekend, saying that “to pay them back with a P12 is great”.

“The car is very good and if you look at the timing, a tenth would have put us in Q3, so of course you can always look at it and say, ‘I could have gone a little faster there,'” Albon said.

“But P12 in, say, a pure qualifying, and apart from maybe Yuki [Tsunoda] and Lando [Norris] who didn’t get a great one, we got there on pace. It puts us in a good place for tomorrow.”

Albon admitted it was “hard to tell truthfully” how much of the improved performance in Austria was due to Williams’ upgrades or the track being a better match for the FW44 car.

“We have a good straight line speed, which also helps us, but I think the aero package adds something,” said Albon.

Alex Albon, Williams Racing

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

“If you look at it now, it’s almost a completely different car than what we had before. It also gives us a lot of room to improve. It is a good basis for continued development.

“We have this early stage of this feature of a new car and now we are here to explore it. To get on top as quickly as we have done, I can only see it getting better for the rest of the season.”

Albon thought the upgraded car offered improved downforce, but added: “At least it’s a little harder to drive.

“It’s a bit more peaky in that sense, but when you get on top of it, it’s good.

“There’s a bit of a learning curve and of course we don’t want it to be wispy and awkward all the time.

“But with the limited amount of running we’ve done, that’s the general feeling so far.”

Albon will start today’s 24-lap sprint race from 11th place on the grid, benefiting from a post-qualifying penalty for Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, which dropped him from fourth to 13th place.