Logan Sargeant believes he needs to develop a less aggressive approach to F1 qualifying after his first experience ended in Q1 elimination.
The American racer was arguably the standout rookie of the F1 2023 season-opener in Bahrain, taking his Williams to a P12 finish as team-mate Alex Albon scored a point to mark a very strong start to the new campaign for the team.
But, while Sargeant was rightly happy with his first F1 race weekend in the majority, he could not help but feel some disappointment over failing to make the second stage of qualifying.
He was actually eliminated after setting an identical time to McLaren’s Lando Norris who went through, but feels a different approach to qualifying will serve him well in future.
“I loved every single second of my first F1 race weekend,” Sargeant wrote in a column for the Formula 1 website.
“If you had given me that sort of weekend before it had happened, I would have said yes to it. To have a smooth race, from the pit stops to the Virtual Safety Car, and finish P12 gives me a good baseline to work with.
“I still wish I could have made Q2, that was a bit of a missed opportunity. I clocked the exact same lap time as Lando Norris in P15 but as I set the time after him, I slotted in behind him and was knocked out.
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“I feel like I didn’t quite have the right approach going into qualifying. Our car was good enough to make Q2. At the time, I didn’t know that was the case so I went in a little bit more aggressive than I should have.
“I pushed a little bit too much, especially on the first lap, which didn’t give me as good a reference for the second lap when I really needed to do it. That’s a mental approach I need to shift a little bit. At least it gives me something to reflect on heading into the next races.”
Nonetheless, Sargeant said the whole Williams squad were pleasantly surprised by their performance level in Bahrain, having prepared themselves to be the slowest of the 10 teams out there.
“Overall, the weekend went as good as we could have hoped for from my perspective,” he said. “The team outperformed what they were expecting as well.
“Going into the weekend, we thought we would be the slowest team so to see Alex get a point and for us to both be quick in qualifying, it gives us motivation that there’s some good promise in the team and some good foundations to build on. Hopefully, we will just keep getting better.”