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'Really happy' Albon praises Williams for executing 'game plan' after qualifying P8 in Melbourne

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 31: Alexander Albon of Thailand and Williams looks on from the fan

Alex Albon and Williams’ performance was one of the many highlights from Saturday in Melbourne, as the Thai racer qualified up in eighth place, putting him and his team in a strong position heading into Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.

Albon was quick throughout qualifying, as he consistently set the fastest middle sector throughout the session. After making it into Q3 – for the first time in 2023 – he set his fastest time of a 1m 17.609s to put him up to P8 – Williams’ highest qualifying position since George Russell’s P2 at Spa in 2021.

READ MORE: Verstappen claims first ever Melbourne pole as Russell bags front row start

Reflecting on his afternoon’s work, a proud Albon said: “The adrenaline is still going a bit, but really, really happy. We were good all weekend. In Jeddah we couldn’t get the tyres working and this weekend we could. Tyres are everything. When it is working, it feels so good.

“We left Jeddah disappointed because we felt there was so much potential in the car. We came into this weekend, a similar track, with similar weather, cold, street track, smooth."

He added: "We worked hard on it, came up with a game plan coming into this weekend, executed it… It was just one of those very smooth sessions, no mistake on the lap, just ticking away.

‘I’m not going to get much sleep tonight!’ – Albon beaming after making Q3 with Williams in Melbourne

“Today was one of those days. It’s an amazing job for the team, for everyone, that’s really special. We were only a few tenths off the Ferraris, which is exciting.”

Williams have scored one point this season – attained by Albon when he finished 10th in Bahrain – and the two-time podium finisher has his sights set on another points-scoring outing in Melbourne, after going from the back of the grid to P10 in last year’s race.

READ MORE: Alonso calls Melbourne his 'best qualifying' of 2023 as he starts next to Hamilton for Australian Grand Prix

“Points are on the cards… No one has really done a proper race run, a couple of people did in FP3, so there is a bit of an unknown,” Albon explained.

“Realistically speaking, we would love to be aggressive and have one eye in front of us but there are the quicker cars behind us. We showed it last year; we started 20th last year and we got points, so why not get some more points this year?”

Albon’s rookie team mate Logan Sargeant will start P18, meanwhile, the American ruing a mistake at Turn 13 in Q1 that he estimated cost him three tenths of a second, leaving him starting ahead of only Valtteri Bottas and the Red Bull of Sergio Perez – the Mexican having struggled with a technical issue that left him in the Turn 3 gravel midway through Q1.

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