williams made a series of updates for the FW44 car at the British Grand Prix last week in a bid to improve its on-track form after a tricky period that saw it fail to score points since it finished ninth in Miami.
Albon made his debut with the updated parts at Silverstone but failed to make it past Q1 and was then caught up in a crash at the first corner after being hit from behind by Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin.
Williams has completed repairs to Albon’s car ahead of this weekend’s race in Austria, allowing Albon to qualify for Q2 for the second time this season and achieve his best qualifying result of the year, qualifying P12 for Saturday’s sprint race .
Albon praised the work of his Williams crew to complete repairs on his car for this weekend, and said “paying them back with a P12 is brilliant”.
“The car is very good and if you look at the lap times a tenth would have taken us into Q3, so of course you can always look at it and say ‘I could have gone a bit faster there’,” said Albon.
“But P12 in, say, pure qualifying, and apart from maybe Yuki [Tsunoda] and Lando [Norris] who didn’t get a big one, we were there on the beat. This puts us in a good position to [the Sprint].”
Alex Albon, Williams Racing
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport pictures
Albon conceded it was “difficult to honestly say” how much of the improvement in performance in Austria was due to Williams’ improvements or the track being more suitable for the FW44 car.
“We have good straight-line speed which also helps us, but I think the aero package brings something,” Albon said.
“If you look at it right now, it’s an almost completely different car to what we had before. It also gives us a lot of room for improvement. It’s a good basis to continue to develop.
“We have this early stage of this feature of a new car and now we are here to explore it. To get the upper hand as quickly as we did, I only see it improving towards the rest of the game. season.
Albon felt the upgraded car offered improved levels of downforce, but added: “It’s actually a bit harder to drive.
“It’s a bit sharper in that sense, but when you get to it, it’s good.
“There’s a bit of a learning curve and obviously we don’t want it to always be sharp and tricky.
“But with the limited number of races we’ve done, that’s the general feeling so far.”
Albon will start today’s 24-lap sprint race from 11th on the grid, benefiting from a post-qualifying penalty for Sergio Perez of Red Bull which moved him from fourth to 13th place.
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