Alex Albon believes Logan Sargeant will prove a threat in terms of pace within Williams after a strong start to the season from both drivers at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Williams had a solid pre-season and entered the year at least in touch with the midfield, but surprised itself with race pace that allowed Albon to deliver an impressive drive to 10th place that scored a point last Sunday. Sargeant had been within 0.2s of his teammate in qualifying and then closely shadowed Albon early on in the race before finishing 12th, and the more experienced driver has been impressed by the American rookie.
“Very good, he’s naturally quick,” Albon told SpeedCity Broadcasting. “I’ve seen it from last year in his time in F2 — his pole positions and just his general pace — so to me it was to be expected but obviously to everyone else maybe it wasn’t seen.
“It’s great because also we’re fighting the same things, we’re giving the same comments. Of course he doesn’t have the experience of myself but he has the right language and the right attitude. Where we need stuff changed — factory, aero, whatever it may be — we’re pushing the same things, so it’s pretty clear to everyone back at Grove what we need.
“I’m sure it’s the start of a good relationship and he definitely keeps me on my toes!”
Albon was still the lead driver of the two Williams cars in Bahrain but he admits he thought he’d lost his chance of points when Pierre Gasly overtook him, before being told keeping Yuki Tsunoda at bay was the crucial battle.
“I was really disappointed when I lost a position to Pierre — I thought I was already in 10th and then thought I was 11th and thought, ‘Oh God, I’ve let the team down here’ but then they said, ‘Oh you’re in 10th now’ and it was a bit of rejuvenated energy to hold off Yuki!
“It was really good. When you look at our strategic analysis/comparison/pace coming into this weekend, we were 10th quickest, there’s no secret about that. We did a great job to make it work, so I’m pleasantly surprised, truthfully.
“We’ve still got work to do. We know our limitations, we know there’s short-term progress we can do, so to still score points… Aston of course have done an amazing job — they’re on the podium, that grabs the headlines — but if you look at our improvement we are second best. We’ve done a mega job from last year and here we are.
“We’re in a better fighting position. We still need a couple more tenths to be in the midfield, but I’m super happy.”