Alex Albon believes the tyre degradation problems that Williams encountered in the Belgian Grand Prix provided a “bit of a wakeup call” for the team.
Following an arduous qualifying session on Friday evening that saw both Williams drivers eliminated in Q1, Albon made a storming start to rise into points contention.
The Thai driver was maintaining a place inside the top 10 before severe degradation on the Medium compound during his second stint forced a third pit stop that dropped him out of the running for a points finish.
Albon, who eventually trailed home 14th, believes the choice to go for a low downforce set-up left him exposed the longer his stints progressed.
“I had a good start today; however, I was almost surprised I fell out of the points in the mid-stint, but I was just struggling so much with degradation,” he said.
“The whole weekend was tricky, and the race was just the same. We’re running low downforce, which is fun but going through sector two, it degs the tyres so much.
“The amount of deg was a bit of a wakeup call, particularly on that Medium tyre. I was having to over-push the tyre to stay in front in sector two and as soon as I tried to manage the tyre, I was immediately under fire from cars behind, so it’s a vicious cycle.”
The slippery nature of Williams’ FW45 car has meant points have only usually been achievable for the British squad on low downforce circuit configurations.
Therefore, Albon asserts Williams must address the issues that arose on Sunday in order to avoid a repeat at the Italian Grand Prix after the summer break.
“I think we need to go away and work out why we struggled so much this weekend, as at the end of the day, this downforce is going to be similar to Monza and that’s our next occasion to likely score points,” he conveyed.
“We’ll need to make sure we learn from this weekend, so when we come back to tracks that suit us, we don’t have this problem again.”
Williams’ Head of Vehicle Performance Dave Robson echoes Albon’s comments, citing that the Grove outfit’s Sunday plight exposed weaknesses with its current package.
“Another tricky day, which started very well with Alex executing some very good overtakes and making strong progress,” he reflected.
“He was able to back this up during the second stint and seemed to have things under control.
“The third stint was much more difficult with higher tyre degradation than expected, in part due to racing hard with the quicker Alpines. We opted to make a third stop, which led to some more overtaking but a frustrating result.
“There were some good aspects to today, but the race also highlighted some weaknesses of the car, which we are working on.”
Meanwhile, Logan Sargeant was unable to make the same progress as his team-mate in the early stages and finished 17th to extend his wait for a first point in Formula 1.