Alexander Albon has detailed how Williams’ Belgian Grand Prix turned into a “vicious circle” and “wake-up call” despite “great fun” with the FW45.
The slippery Williams machine was expected to be a points contender at Spa-Francorchamps owing to its prodigious straight-line speed, but Albon could only manage 14th in the Grand Prix with teammate Logan Sargeant 17th.
The main limiting factor for Williams was overheating its tyres with a lack of downforce in the second sector proving a weakness Albon was not able to overcome and just made his race worse.
Albon’s ‘vicious circle’
“I was almost surprised that I fell out of the points in the mid-stint, and don’t know where everyone leapfrogged me,” Albon told media including RacingNews365.
“At the end of the stint, we were struggling with tyre degradation and it was a tricky race because we are running the low downforce.
“That is great fun in some ways, but through Sector 2, it is not so fun anymore. We are just degrading the tyres so much, and we even saw it on the Wet tyres.
“It was a bit of a wake-up call just how much degradation we had in the race, particularly on the Medium tyre.
“The other issue that I had was to race the cars around me, I was basically having to push in Sector 2 because as soon as I backed off and tried to manage the tyres in the places you need to like Turn 10 to Turn 12, I was immediately under fire and almost got overtaken by the car behind.
“I had to over push the tyre and then it is a vicious cycle because you then degrade more and you are already trying to save the tyre but you are not allowed to and don’t have the freedom.
“It is not like Canada, Austria or Silverstone where I felt like I could manage the tyres in a couple of corners. Here they were up my gearbox the whole time so I had to keep pushing.
“It is a frustrating one because it was a weekend we thought we would do better.
“We need to make sure we understand why we struggled so much. At the end of the day, this downforce [package] will be similar to Monza.
“That is going to be our next best chance to score points so we need to learn from this weekend, so when we come back to tracks that suit us, we don’t have this happen again.”