RACE DEBRIEF

    Albon hoping ‘slippery’ Williams can help fight for points after first Q3 appearance of 2022 in Spa

    Alex Albon was “really happy” to qualify in the top 10 for the first time in 2023, with the Williams driver set to start sixth following grid penalties for others, and Albon hoping his “slippery” car can keep him inside the points.

    The Thai driver has looked quick all weekend amid mixed conditions which are typical at Spa-Francorchamps and built a good rhythm through qualifying to reach Q3 and end up ninth fastest overall.

    READ MORE: Verstappen fastest in qualifying but Sainz set to start on pole after Belgian GP grid penalties

    That secured Williams’ highest start since George Russell was P3 on the grid in Sochi last year, and puts the team in a strong position to fight for only their third points’ finish of the season and first since round five in Miami.

    “Very good, very good, really happy,” said Albon of his qualifying. “I wouldn’t say we expected that result – but we’ll definitely take it. It felt like just hard work and getting the most out of what we had.

    2022 Belgian GP Qualifying: Albon celebrates making Q3 at Spa

    “Made some good changes form FP3, and even the circuit itself, it suits us more than other circuits. We’ve been competitive since FP1. P6 tomorrow, I believe it is. I’m very happy.”

    A flurry of faster cars, including championship leader Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, will start behind him on the grid after they were two of seven drivers hit with penalties for taking new power unit components.

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    Albon knows it will be near-impossible to keep those two behind behind, especially on a track where there are multiple places to overtake, but he was hopeful he had a car that can fight others and won’t simply get swallowed up.

    “I was looking at Max’s lap time and I feel like he’s going to be past us by Lap 3!” he added. “So we are going to have to do our own race, it’s not like Monaco where you can hold on to your position. You need a quick car to stay in front.

    “Overtaking here is on the easier side, so we will need to see what we’ve done. No one has really done any long runs, which is making it a little bit more unpredictable, but we also have a slippery car so hopefully that makes it more difficult to overtake.”