Alex Albon described qualifying eighth on the grid for the Australian Grand Prix as “a victory” for Williams as it is now fully in the midfield fight.
A year ago, Albon finished tenth in Melbourne after starting from the back of the grid, completing nearly the entire race on a set of hard tires to hang on for a point. He starts 12 places better off this time around after setting the fastest overall middle sector given the efficiency of the Williams on the straights and Albon says it’s a sign of how competitive Williams is this year.
“It’s a proper fight now,” Albon said. “We’ve got the pace in the car, it’s only a couple tenths to the top ten, that is what we had in mind coming into this weekend and then actually we overtook those two-tenths and added a couple of tenths on top and that’s why we’re P8.
“So the motivation when you know that there’s a chance for this every weekend, it’s exciting. I live for that, the team live for that as well. There’s a great energy within the team to see if we can keep this up and apply the pressure with the upgrades we’ve got and let’s see. But for now, we’ll take the victory, the mini-victory… It’s a victory for us.”
Albon was particularly pleased with the way Williams took a step forward from the last race in Saudi Arabia and with strong straight line speed he should be to overtake in race trim on Sunday.
“Very happy, pretty special today. I feel like we optimized everything. Obviously, we had a very good car. Coming from Jeddah where we came out a little bit disappointed, we didn’t quite understand what to do with the tires. We had a bit of a different game plan coming into qualifying today.
“We were struggling in FP1, FP2 and FP3 just getting the tires to work and we executed our plan, it worked. Once the tires work everything else feels so much easier. Maybe others struggled out there compared to us which was the opposite of last time out in Jeddah and that’s it really. Of course, I’m just very happy when you look at the progress we’ve made in twelve months it’s been amazing so motivation is high and we’ve got a job to do tomorrow.
“We haven’t done a race run. That’s the reality of it a little bit more guesswork and it looks like we’ll be racing the cars behind us. We’ll be aggressive, we’ll give it a go. You never know, it’s going to be hard for the people around us.”