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Formula 1 Canadian GP

Albon: Topping Canadian GP Q2 shows Williams F1 progress genuine

Alex Albon says that topping the Q2 session in Montreal shows that his Williams Formula 1 team is making progress, adding that he wants “more P1s.”

Alex Albon, Williams FW45

Albon finished the wet Q1 session in a solid sixth place, and at the start of Q2 he was the only driver to be sent out on slick tyres rather than intermediates on the drying track.

He duly logged a time that no one else could match even after a mass switch to slicks as the rain restarted.

A scrappy Q3 session left him 10th – prior to gaining a place from a penalty for Carlos Sainz – but Albon insisted that the Q2 performance was still worth celebrating.

“It’s nice to think about,” he said when asked about his session. “And firstly, I have to say it’s where we want to be.

“In some ways, I love it, because I hope it can show the factory and everyone in the race team that this is where we want to be in a couple of years.

“I know it took a bit of conditions to make it happen, but it’s just nice to be there and at least, for me, it shows me where we want to be.

“It motivates me. To be able to get a car that is able to be in P1 shows that we’re beginning to make steps forwards and that’s just the drive for this year and beyond. We want some more P1s.”

Alex Albon, Williams Racing

Alex Albon, Williams Racing

Photo by: Francois Tremblay

Albon was surprised to find that no other cars were on slicks at the start of Q1.

“Firstly, we had good pace,” he said. “In Q1, we were P6, so we were feeling good. We didn’t need to take the risk in Q2, but we just felt it was the right thing to do.

“We knew it was generally just slick tyres [conditions], we made the call. We were quite surprised – or at least, I was – seeing everyone roll out on the inters, which kind of made me doubt it a little bit.

“In the back of my head, I had George [Russell] from last year here! So on my first push, through Turn 1 and Turn 2, I was particularly slow, just to make sure that I avoided it. But it was great to get through and just a bit of fun to be in P1.”

He admitted that he hadn’t been able to carry through his good form into Q3 before a red flag caused by a crash for Oscar Piastri and more rain meant that no one could improve their times.

“It was a tricky one, because the track suddenly became much worse,” he said.

“So the tyres, to get them in a window became much harder, and it just felt like we struggled a little it with that because it felt like the tyres were colling down quite a bit on the straights when the rain picks up.

Alex Albon, Williams FW45, in the pits

Alex Albon, Williams FW45, in the pits

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

“And that’s normally fine, because you’re doing consecutive running anyway and you’re just getting quicker and quicker, but obviously, on the second lap, there was a red flag.

“I made a mistake – that’s fair – and I’m disappointed on that side. I just lost a bit of front tyre temp going into the last corner after the long back straight and that was it really.

“When I came round and I saw Oscar pointing backwards, I knew that was it, I knew it was going to be too wet once we went back out again.

“Mixed opinions, mixed emotions. I have to say though, just looking at the whole weekend, this is a great result.”

Williams has significant upgrades in Canada on Albon’s car, and he says that things are going in the right direction.

“It shows that as a package, we are getting there. We knew this track would suit us more than Barcelona, but with the upgrade on the car as well, truthfully speaking, it’s actually quite hard to feel because we are at such a different circuit to Barcelona.

“It’s so bumpy, the chicanes, it’s all about kerb-riding and actually lower downforce tends to work to your favour – this was always going to be a track that suited us.

“But just looking at lap times, we’re clearly competitive, so I’m happy. I feel we made a good step. I’m not sure if it will carry to Silverstone or Austria, but at least around here, I genuinely think we are in a good place.”

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