Mixed emotions at Williams as Mexico City GP leaves Albon feeling ‘pleasantly surprised’ and Latifi ‘very lonely’
Alex Albon believes he and Williams executed a “very good” race at the Mexico City Grand Prix after narrowly missing out on a points finish with an encouraging rise from 19th at the end of the first lap to 12th at the chequered flag.
Albon, who scored in Australia, Miami and Belgium earlier this season, was just a few seconds shy of repeating the feat at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez as his Mercedes-powered FW44 again displayed stronger pace in race-trim, which helped the Thai-British driver to recover from a compromised start that cost him two places from 17th on the grid.
With Williams having entered the weekend expecting to struggle in the high-altitude conditions, Albon took away plenty of positives, saying: “We had a good race, actually. I was pleasantly surprised. I think we did a really good job.
“It was a tricky start; we had a technical issue getting off the line, so we dropped down to 19th and then we made our way through. Most of the cars we overtook on track, or we did it in the pit-stops, and we got to 12th.
“Considering where we were [during practice] on Friday, on a circuit we knew was going to be difficult for us, I felt like we did a very good job.”
Albon was then asked about Williams generally performing better on race days this season, which prompted him to highlight how much progress the team have made in understanding their package – and how this should reap rewards in 2023.
“I think last year the team was maybe a little bit stronger in qualifying than the race. This year it’s a bit 50/50; sometimes we get the qualifying right, sometimes we get the race right. It is a bit of a moving board,” he commented.
“I think if you look at where we were at the start of the year, and where we are now, we generally really understand the car’s weaknesses, we get on top of them and we maximise the weekends. It puts us in a good place for development for next year, because we understand the areas we need to work on.”
Meanwhile Nicholas Latifi started one place behind Albon but was unable to replicate his team mate’s charge, the Canadian left to rue unspecified car damage as he crossed the line as the final finisher, two laps down.
“I’m not sure exactly when we sustained [the damage] – it must have been very early on. We just had no pace, even at the end on brand new soft tyres compared to people who were on lap 25-lap old soft tyres, I was like two or three seconds a lap slower,” he explained.
“It would have been nice to hear that a bit earlier. We’ve had some times where it doesn’t affect the balance, depending on what you actually damage, so what exactly it is we don’t know yet. But it was just a very lonely and useless afternoon.”
With eight points scored so far this season, Williams remain rooted to the foot of the constructors’ standings, 27 points away from ninth-placed AlphaTauri, and a further point adrift of Haas.