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Formula 1 Canadian GP

Albon driving "in rearview mirrors” on way to Canadian GP seventh

Alex Albon says he was driving “in his rearview mirrors” on his way to seventh place for his Williams Formula 1 team in the Canadian GP.

Alex Albon, Williams FW45

From 10th on the grid, Albon used a one-stop strategy to gain track position and thereafter kept a train of cars behind him as he tried to make his second set of tyres last to the flag.

His single pit stop jumped him ahead of the McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, which had started ahead.

Helped by his car’s inherent straightline form, Albon used all his racing guile in successfully keeping the chasing Esteban Ocon and the rest of the following group behind.

Albon stressed that the strategy was driven by the need to not do the same as his immediate rivals.

“To be honest, I do think we had similar pace to the McLarens the whole weekend,” he said when asked by Autosport about his race.

“Realistically, where we were, we had to do something different to them as they were in front to get the points. 

"And yeah, we've had very good pace this weekend, but to get points is difficult. You've got those eight cars, the Astons, the Red Bulls, the Ferraris the Mercedes, the final two positions it normally feels like it's normally the Alpines now. So we had to stick to the one-stop.”

Alex Albon, Williams FW45, Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523

Alex Albon, Williams FW45, Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523

Photo by: Jake Grant / Motorsport Images

Conceding his long run to the finish on an ageing set of hard tyres was no easy task, Albon added: “When the guys told me I had 35-40 laps –  I think they even told me 20 just to make me feel better – and I looked at the TV screen, I was like, 'Oh my God, I hope that's not real.' 

"I had a grunt just because I was like, ‘Ahhhh!’. I've done these races a lot now. I can tell you, they're not that fun.”

Albon had to use all his racecraft to ensure that he stayed ahead of Ocon, including prioritising getting a good run out of the Turn 10 hairpin.

“We're good at defending, we have a straightline car,” he noted. “And in these situations, you're obviously in a big tyre deficit, but at the same time, saving the tyres to make the key corners count.

“So Turn 10, making sure I positioned the car in Esteban's dirty air to try to still make him hurt his tyres, hurt his traction and all that kind of thing.

“You're driving a race that's very much in your rearview mirrors, even though obviously you're trying not to make mistakes.

“And the other thing is obvious is when the tread comes down, the tyres start to cool down quite a lot, and you have to start pushing, and by the end of the race, you see white parts where you're right down to the canvas.

“You've got to push flat out, it feels like qualifying for the last 20 laps. At the same time, you can't afford to make a mistake, there's this real balance going on. But that's what we paid for!”

 Albon stressed that the car was working well with the latest update package.

"It's almost like just doing enough to keep them behind, and making sure that you still got enough in the tank for the rest of the race. That's something which is quite tricky to gauge. 

"I wouldn't have been able to do it without a good car. I mean, honestly speaking this weekend we've had we've had a great car.”

 

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