“I think we already know the problem so shouldn’t be too long to solve and replace, but obviously, around a track like here you want the mileage because it’s such a confidence-building circuit. So a little bit on the back foot for tomorrow but otherwise the car’s not been feeling terrible.”
Pressed on whether he is confident of avoiding a grid drop, he replied: “I believe so but I’m not too sure, to be honest.”
When Albon’s Gulf-liveried Williams was running healthily in opening practice, the ex-Red Bull racer wound up 12th overall, nine-tenths ahead of team-mate Logan Sargeant.
However, Albon, who is aiming for a third consecutive points finish on Sunday, asserts that Williams likely has the slowest car on a track the team already expected to expose the weaknesses of its package.
Questioned on the areas the Grove squad are lacking in ahead of qualifying tomorrow, Albon said: “Efficiency and balance. This track, we knew coming into it, would expose some of the characteristics of our car.
“P1 was not too bad but I think realistically we are the tenth-quickest car this weekend and we just need to tidy it up. Obviously, there’s not much to go for or learn from FP2.
“We’ll have to do a little bit of guesswork in FP3, maybe change the run plan a little bit just to test a few more things. It’s tight out there for the midfield but we are a little bit behind them so a bit of work.”
Despite Albon’s downbeat assessment, Williams’ Head of Vehicle Performance Dave Robson remains optimistic that the side can make considerable progress overnight.
“We opted to do some testing with Alex in FP1, expecting to complete the race preparation during FP2,” he explained.
“Unfortunately an issue within the ERS system of the PU meant that we had to end his FP2 after just a couple of laps on the hard tyre. We’ll fit a different module to Alex’s car overnight and look to make up for lost time during FP3.
“Logan had a more successful day and completed his plan without any issues,” he continued. “He got some good experience of this tricky circuit under his belt.
“He was able to get a good sense of how to trade low and high fuel performance at this track. We’ve got a lot of work to do to improve the car, but we know what we are looking for. We’ll certainly be able to make some progress.”