Williams explains the bizarre F1 Mexico Grand Prix form fluctuations

Williams Formula 1 driver Alex Albon has explained why the team's form appeared to change considerably from session to session during the Mexico Grand Prix weekend.
Williams

(Motorsports news) The Thai-British driver of Williams, Alex Albon started the event by finishing second quickest in FP1 , just 0.095 seconds behind pacesetter and eventual race winner Max Verstappen. He then finished 14th in FP2. Albon caused difficulties for the lead Red Bull in the last practice on Saturday morning. He finished second, 0.07s behind Verstappen, but dropped back to 14th in qualifying before battling to ninth place for two points.

Albon believes track temperature was the primary cause of the weekend’s peaks and troughs. “I was surprised, the pace in the race was not that strong,” he explained. It was fine. “I think a lot of it is due to the temperature of the day; the track was hot, just like qualifying.” When the track got heated, Williams struggled. “So, there was a lot of management and in the race, I was having to manage too much to make the tyres last and that was affecting the lap time.”

At the start of the race, the asphalt temperature was 52 degrees Celsius before dropping to 45 degrees. In FP3, the temperature was 44 degrees, rising to 47 degrees at the start of qualifying. Albon elaborated on his difficulties, saying, “Purely the tyres and the temperature.” We are aware that our vehicle is highly sensitive. “We know we slide around a little more than other cars, so when it gets hot, it creates a little more temperature.”

“The race is a little easier because everyone is doing well. Obviously, if you’re managing, you’ll be slow in the short run. So we had the same issue as qualifying, but we managed to make it work.” Williams’ head of vehicle performance, Dave Robson, similarly blamed temperature hikes for Albon’s missed Q3 shot on Saturday, adding that traffic management had also played a role. Robson said he was “quite surprised” by the size of the heat-related shortfall.

“It’s been an interesting and topsy-turvy weekend,” he concluded. We didn’t expect to be this strong, and we surprised ourselves at times. We raced quite well after a difficult qualifying session. “In terms of setup, we definitely hit the ground running; the tyres were in a good window on Friday and again in FP3.” We don’t measure anything drastically different, but even minor modifications appear to make a difference.”

Also read: Vasseur: Leclerc’s Mexico F1 race was destroyed by a hard tyre stint

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