Albon and Williams are in love with the C2 tyre
Alexander Albon lauded the C2 Pirelli tyre, as he feels his Williams is at its best on that compound, having completed a near-race distance on it in Melbourne on Sunday.
The C2 was the hardest compound available in the Australian Grand Prix and, having started last, Albon opted to use that tyre from the start – and it paid dividends.
He stayed out during both Safety Car periods in the race, which elevated him into the top 10 positions. But rather than pitting and falling all the way to the back – as was the case with Fernando Alonso – he was able to keep going all the way to the penultimate lap of the race before finally coming in for his compulsory stop.
He then brought home an unlikely P10 finish, much to the delight of the Williams team for their first point of the season – and even more so for himself, given the circumstances surrounding his strategy.
Rather than the tyres degrading towards the end of the maximum of 40 laps Pirelli recommended on the tyre, the Williams driver commented that the opposite effect was taking place.
“It just got better and better and by the end of it, it felt like qualifying laps for the last 25 laps of the race,” Albon told reporters after the race, per Motorsport.com.
Just call him the tyre whisperer. ✌️ pic.twitter.com/iXmda44xox
— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) April 10, 2022
“Obviously it’s completely unexpected, but it really highlights all the work that’s been done at the factory and here at the track.
“That’s what determination and motivation – that’s where it gets you. It’s been an amazing day and I’m glad I could get this result for the team.”
Albon added that he was “surprised we were never boxing under the VSC or the Safety Cars” while they were out, as he continued his mega stint on the hard compound.
With others around him pitting, his team’s decision to stay out went against the grain – and his run deep into the race would continue until the last possible moment, with the field eventually spreading out enough again under green flag conditions to enable him to stop.
Because of his and the team’s success on that compound, the second-hardest of the five in the Pirelli range, he joked that that’s all he’ll want to race on in the future.
“I thought, ‘Okay well they know something I don’t’,” he added of his strategists.
“One of the Haas’ boxed in front of me and that was my point where I thought, ‘Okay it’s going to be a tricky race now’, because that DRS was saving me from being overtaken from the pack behind.
“But once we got clear air we just went, we were on much older tyres than the guys around us and we were keeping pace more or less with the McLarens. At the very end pulling away from the Alpines.
“What’s interesting is that C2 tyres really suits our car. We almost need to understand why because it’s a bit unexpected, clearly this result.
“Maybe we need to qualify, race, do everything on that tyre. Bring in 10 sets for the whole thing!”
Williams, along with Aston Martin, have been the early backmarkers in Formula 1’s new era, with eight of the 10 teams having been jostling with one another for the points-paying positions in Bahrain and Jeddah, with the two slowest teams slightly lagging behind.
Given their struggles, it could well still be a long season ahead for the Grove-based team, but Albon added that getting off the mark for the season will provide a welcome boost – and he’s looking for more in the coming races.
“It’s a much-needed result,” he said. “I feel like when you have a tough start to the season you want to switch that momentum and have positivity with what you’re doing.
“It’s hard when you don’t get good results, it is a tough time but it motivates me, it motivates the team to get that point on the board and now we’re hungry for more.”
Albon puts in sterling drive in Melbourne
Nicholas Latifi struggled all weekend, but Alex Albon's mega effort secured a point for Williams.