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Albon hopeful Williams will be stronger in Miami after ‘tough’ China weekend as Sargeant reflects on penalty incident

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SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 21: Alexander Albon of Thailand and Williams and Logan Sargeant of United

Alex Albon is confident that Williams can have a better outing at the next race on the calendar in Miami after again missing out on points at the Chinese Grand Prix, with the Thai driver hopeful that the team can enjoy a resurgence later in the season as they did in 2023.

While he was able to get past the Alpine of Pierre Gasly to end the race in P12 – making up places from his starting position of P14 – points ultimately eluded Albon at the Shanghai International Circuit.

READ MORE: Verstappen charges to victory over Norris and Perez in action-packed Chinese GP

Asked after the 56-lap encounter about the fact that he had made progress during the Grand Prix, Albon commented: “Yeah, but [there were] a lot of DNFs. It was an okay race, we did the best we could I think. Our result was more or less where we were.

“I don’t know about that Safety Car, I don’t know if it helped us or hindered us, but it hasn’t been our track this weekend. Hopefully in Miami we’ll be a bit stronger.”

With Albon and team mate Logan Sargeant having both suggested during the weekend that there was a feeling of ‘disconnect’, the 28-year-old admitted that – while the team know how to tackle this – the improvement may not come for some time.

Shanghai ‘hasn’t been our track’ admits Albon after tough weekend for Williams

“We understand it but a solution is not soon, not immediate,” he explained. “We just need a few things, a few upgrades to go our way and to work, and then I think we’ll be much more competitive.

“I think we’ll be more competitive in Miami already, just because of the nature of the circuit, not for anything else. It’s obviously been tough – it was tough last year [at] the start of the season, then we came strong, so fingers crossed.”

HIGHLIGHTS: Watch the action from the Chinese Grand Prix as Verstappen takes victory while Safety Car sparks dramatic restart

On the other side of the Williams garage, it was an eventful afternoon for Sargeant in Shanghai. The American started the race from the pit lane after some changes were made to his car and soon found himself in the thick of the action during a busy Grand Prix, which featured a Virtual Safety Car period followed by two full Safety Car phases midway through.

Amidst all of this, Sargeant was handed a 10-second time penalty for overtaking Nico Hulkenberg under Safety Car conditions, with the incident occurring just as Hulkenberg was leaving the pit lane. The 23-year-old ended the event in 17th and last place.

“The first half of the race was pretty good, to be honest,” Sargeant reflected afterwards. “I think especially on the medium tyre we felt like we were in a really good window. I think we had ourselves up into a pretty good position and in a pretty good place.

Sargeant ‘really really struggled’ on the hard tyre in Shanghai

“But we just put the hard tyre on and literally it [degraded] immediately, and [we] just really, really struggled from that point forward. Definitely a tricky weekend, a few good moments, a few bad moments, and [we’ll] see what we can learn for next time.

“In terms of the penalty for the Safety Car thing, I don’t know how they expect the drivers to see that line when we’re split by 50 metres. But from my eye-line I thought I crossed the line first.”

EXPLAINED: Why Ricciardo, Stroll, Sargeant and Magnussen were all penalised in China

Despite this, Sargeant is taking confidence from the positives during the weekend ahead of his home race in Miami.

“I think there’s been plenty of good moments lately, but also too many not so great moments,” he conceded. “Very solvable I think, and we’ll just try and have to reflect on it as a team and try to do better going forward.”

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