Frustration was rampant at Williams Racing after qualifying for the F1 Australian Grand Prix where both drivers only got past Q1. Alex Albon qualified 16th and Nicholas Latifi 19th. Albon’s fastest time, 1:20.135, was set in his penultimate lap.
Latifi set a fastest lap of 1:21.372 on the soft compound tire before an incident involving Aston martin driver Lance Stroll ended his qualifying session
Charles Leclerc takes pole position F1 Grand Prix Australia in game for thousandths
Nicholas was very unlucky to collide with Stroll as he primed his tires for another fast lap. It seems Stroll didn’t see Nicholas had come alongside to pass him and continue his tire prep. We’ll have to assess the damage tonight, but it won’t be a problem to get the car ready for the race tomorrow.
Alex Albon: It’s frustrating not to make it to Q2 today. The team did a fantastic job of maximizing the performance of the car overnight so we were in a position to fight for more. We find that we have to do a few push laps to get the tires in the optimal window, and unfortunately my second lap on the second set of tires was interrupted by the red flag. I felt we deserved a little more today, but it’s all to play for tomorrow.
Nicholas Latifi: I’ve seen the video so it’s very clear on my part who is to blame. I let Lance pass when I was told he was on a push lap, which he must have broken off a corner or so before, so he was going slow. I had to continue my cool down lap and pick up the pace again and get my tire prep correct. There was a really big gap to overtake him and when I came alongside he turned in for some reason. The impact itself was very small, but because of the manner of the impact, it has major consequences. There is a lot of damage to the car so we will have to see what the guys can do and I know we have one of the best teams for that. This is the last thing I would have wanted; the goal here was to have a clean weekend and so this is extremely frustrating.
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: It was a frustrating afternoon for us as we made good progress with the car overnight during FP3. We know it’s a challenge for us right now to get into Q2 and we have to do everything right to have a chance. The session went well and the tires worked well. Alex made steady progress with each pushing lap and had one try left when the session went red. He was in a good position and had his tires well prepared so it’s a shame we didn’t get to see the final result. When the session started again we knew there was not time for everyone to do a final lap and so we chose to line up in the pit lane to ensure a good track position. The price we pay for this is the loss of tire temperature, but we had little to lose at this point. Unfortunately, the congested track and cooler tires prevented Alex from improving, but it was a valiant effort under the conditions. We had to stop Alex on his lap as he approached the pit entrance as we could see a potential problem with the car.