Alex Albon praised Williams’ year-on-year progress and outlined the team is now “in a proper fight” after qualifying in eighth place for Formula 1’s Australian Grand Prix.
Albon narrowly made it into Q3 in qualifying in Melbourne on Saturday, edging Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, but the Williams driver continued to better his lap time in Q3 and will start the race from the fourth row of the grid on Sunday.
Albon was regularly rapid through the high-speed second sector of Albert Park as the layout assisted the strengths of the slippery FW45.
“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 10, 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 on 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 [eighth place] a victory for us.”
The Williams driver added that the problems some of the other teams had with tyres this weekend played into Williams’ hands, allowing them to capitalise on the unpredictability of the weekend.
“Since the very beginning of Pirelli tyres, it’s a dark art sometimes to drive quicker: you have to drive slower, as if you push limits too early in the lap you pay for it,” he explained.
“It’s not always that obvious and the lap I did in Q3 was one of those where I felt like I was on the limit but never went over it.
“I had good grip for sector three as well; all of the time when you’re up in your first two sectors you lose it in sector three because you push too hard. Today wasn’t one of those days.”
“I think when the track becomes unique, for example, look at this weekend everyone starts to struggle with the tyres. We can then spring up some surprises and do a good job.”