In qualifying and the final free practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Spain, Williams Racing focused on the tyres. Partly due to the high temperatures, Pirelli’s rubber wears hard and a thorough strategy is needed.
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: After going through a rough patch on Friday, we made some changes to the cars overnight, which improved the balance for both drivers. In FP3 we focused on preparing the tires in the warm conditions and found a good window that both drivers felt comfortable with.
Although the car performed better today (Saturday .red) we knew that to progress in qualifying we had to get the absolute most out of the car and tires so we chose to have Alex drive all the way at the end of the session . Unfortunately, an unnecessary traffic jam at the pit exit kept him upright and jeopardized his track position, preventing him from improving his lap time.
Nicholas tried the opposite strategy and started early for the final run, which allowed him to put in a clean lap and set a good time. Unfortunately we are just not fast enough this weekend and we will have to be opportunistic tomorrow if we want to get anything out of the race.
Alex Albon: We really struggled with traffic at the end of that session; it is always a problem when there are many cars on the track. I’d had some decent runs and I felt like the car was in a good place after the work we’d done to fix some issues. There was more speed in the car today but when I came out for my last run there was a traffic jam which messed things up and meant I couldn’t improve my last time. It’s frustrating because the car and tires performed so I’m disappointed we didn’t get a more representative result.
Nicholas Latifi: I think tomorrow will be a very long race for everyone. Tomorrow will be the hottest day and high tire degradation will be an issue in the pit lane regardless of pace so if someone is wrong it could create a lot of opportunities so there is still reason to be optimistic. It was very difficult today – we had a very difficult time yesterday and overnight we made changes to try and go in the right direction and the car was more normal than what it looks like in qualifying today – but we still lack speed and miss a lot in the fast corners.