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‘Consummate professional’ Sargeant calls giving up car to Albon in Australia ‘the hardest moment in my career’

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BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 23: Logan Sargeant of United States driving the (2) Williams FW46

Logan Sargeant has admitted that being asked to give up his car for the remainder of the Australian Grand Prix weekend was “the hardest moment I can remember in my career”, after Williams announced that Alex Albon would take over his FW46 from Free Practice 3 following a crash for the Thai driver.

FP1 on Friday morning saw Albon smash into the Turn 7 barriers at the Albert Park Circuit. Emerging from the wreckage unharmed, Albon was forced to miss FP2 as Williams assessed the damage to his chassis.

READ MORE: Albon to take over Sargeant’s car for remainder of Australia GP weekend after FP1 shunt

When that damage was deemed too significant to allow the team to continue using it, and with no third chassis available, Williams made the call to allow Albon to take over Sargeant’s car from FP3 – a move which the American admitted was hard to swallow.

“This is the hardest moment I can remember in my career and it's absolutely not easy,” said Sargeant after the call was announced on Friday evening in Melbourne. “I am however completely here for the team and will continue to contribute in any way that I can this weekend to maximise what we can do.”

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2024 Australian GP FP1: Albon crash brings out the red flags in first practice

For his part, Albon graciously thanked his team mate for being a “consummate professional”, saying: “I have to be totally honest and say that no driver would want to give up his seat. I would never want anything like this to happen.

FP2: Leclerc sets the pace during second practice in Australia from Verstappen and Sainz

“Logan has always been a consummate professional and a team player from day one, and this won't be an easy one for him to take. At this point though, I cannot dwell on the situation and my only job now is to maximise our potential this weekend and work with the whole team to make sure we do the best job possible.”

Team Principal James Vowles, meanwhile, admitted that, despite Sargeant having enjoyed a strong Friday for Williams – as he overcame a few wild moments to finish 14th and 13th in the opening two practice sessions – a tight midfield meant that handing the car to Albon – who scored 27 out of the team’s 28 points last year to help them claim P7 in the constructors’ standings – was the pragmatic choice.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 22: Alex Albon of Thailand and Williams F1 crashes out during FP1

Albon was deemed to have caused too much damage to his chassis

“While Logan should not have to suffer from a mistake that he did not make, every race counts when the midfield is tighter than ever,” said Vowles, “so we have made the call based on our best potential to score points this weekend.

READ MORE: ‘We’re here to start fighting for proper positions’ – Vowles reveals ‘sacrifice’ Williams have made to improve performance

“This decision was not made lightly, and we cannot thank Logan enough for his graceful acceptance, demonstrating his dedication to the team; he is a true team player.”

Williams are still looking for their first points of the 2024 campaign, the team one of four – along with Kick Sauber, RB and Alpine – who are yet to score this season.

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