Under-pressure driver lauded for ‘tremendous mental strength’ after much-needed result

Jamie Woodhouse
Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris lead off the line at the start of the 2023 US Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris lead off the line at the start of the 2023 US Grand Prix.

Williams’ head of vehicle performance Dave Robson has noticed a real spring in the step of Logan Sargeant after his first F1 points score in Austin.

While Sargeant’s impressive display was not originally going to be enough to score a point in Formula 1 for the first time, what transpired after the US Grand Prix opened the door to the top 10.

With Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc both disqualified, due to the planks on their respective challengers failing to satisfy the minimum nine millimetre width, Sargeant was promoted to P10 to join the collection of F1 points scorers.

Logan Sargeant “bouncy” after Austin P10

Now Formula 1 moves on to the Mexican Grand Prix and with the Williams FW45 showing signs of strong performance, Sargeant is out to make it back-to-back top-10 finishes.

And Robson has noticed a pep in the step of their driver, who he praised for showing the resilience to bounce back as he fights to prove to Williams that he should be retained for F1 2024.

Asked if he has seen a difference in Sargeant at the Mexican GP, Robson replied: “Absolutely. I think he is quite happy, as you expect, bouncy, enthusiastic, desperate to get back in the car yesterday and get back out on track.

“So, I think he drove a really good race on Sunday. Obviously, in the end, we benefited from other people’s issues. But nonetheless, he got himself into that position, was really very close to Alex on the road.

“And he drove better and better as the weekend went on, which given that Friday was difficult, I think it actually showed a tremendous amount of mental strength and ability for him to just keep pushing at it.

“And then on Sunday, his race pace was very strong and he got a good reward as a result. And now he’s looking to go and do it again.”

PlanetF1.com recommends

F1 2023: Head-to-head qualifying and race stats between team-mates

F1 driver numbers: Which numbers will the 20 F1 drivers be using in 2023?

Robson felt it was easy to forget that Sargeant made a competitive start to the season, but the question marks over his future arose from there as the deficit to Albon stretched and the crashes mounted up.

Miami and Suzuka were among the circuits where Sargeant found himself involved in a shunt, Robson believing that such examples of unfamiliar tracks for the American hurt his confidence, but now he is hopefully coming out the other side.

“It’s interesting. Preparing for another interview, looking back over some of the notes from earlier in the season, you forget that in Bahrain, he was really very, very good,” said Robson.

“So, the Bahrain race was outstanding. Obviously we went into that race off the back of three days of testing, which helped, but nonetheless, his pace was strong, everything was good.

“Qualifying in Saudi Arabia got off to a really good start. So, he had a really good start. His pace, and his general approach to everything was really strong. And then we went through that group of circuits that he hadn’t been to before and some of them are really tough.

“You go somewhere like Melbourne and it’s not an easy track. And that probably hurt his confidence a bit. And then he sort of came back strong when we hit the European season. Not able to get points, but still looking much better.

“And then we had a few rough races where he damaged the car a bit and that’s affected the spec, probably affected his confidence a little bit. And now hopefully, starting last weekend, we’ve seen it back on the way up again.”

Sargeant’s Williams seat is the last potentially available for F1 2024, though the team very much want to retain their academy graduate for next season if he can show further progress in these final four rounds.

Read next: Lewis Hamilton accused of ‘trying to save face’ with DSQ comments