Bold Williams strategy key to Albon points
By Mat Coch
Monday 19th June, 2023 - 5:45pm
A bold strategy call was key to Alex Albon delivering a seventh-place finish for Williams in the Canadian Grand Prix.
Albon lined up ninth on the grid, benefitting from Carlos Sainz being relegated for impeding Pierre Gasly in Qualifying 1.
He starred in Qualifying when he was the first to brave the switch to slick tyres, ending the second part of the session fastest.
Starting ahead of both Ferraris in the race, he quickly fell behind Charles Leclerc to run 10th throughout the opening stint.
The decisive moment came when George Russell littered the circuit with debris after tagging the wall with his right-rear tyre exiting Turn 9.
Williams called Albon in under the resultant Safety Car, swapping the used medium tyres he started the race on for a set of new hards.
The key was he would not stop again, while those he was racing would.
The second round of pit stops began on Lap 35, which saw Albon promoted to seventh by Lap 39.
His task was to reach the flag, resisting the inevitable onslaught as those on fresher tyres reeled him in.
“We’ve been in that position a lot of times,” Albon told Sky Sports.
“This was one of the times where I felt like the closing speed is a little bit too much.
“Sometimes you can see someone catching up from behind, you think ‘I know as soon as they catch me, they’re not really going to be able to overtake me’.
“When it’s a second a lap, and they’re coming in quick… it was tough.
“I just remember getting the call and, you know, ‘we’ve got 30, 40 laps left’ and I was like ‘What!?’.
“It’s not fun to drive around on old tyres, but we made it work.”
Albon held on to seventh by just 0.8s over Esteban Ocon, the Frenchman at the head of a queue of cars that also included Lando Norris (who fell to 13th following a post-race penalty), Lance Stroll, Valtteri Bottas, Oscar Piastri, and Gasly.
The result elevates Williams off the foot of the constructors’ championship table with its tally of seven points for the year to date leaving it ninth.
Scuderia AlphaTauri, which has scored just two points from the opening eight races, now occupies 10th and last in the standings.
Having scored all Williams’ points, Albon is 12th in the drivers’ championship.