‘Final nail’ assessment made after critical double error for F1 2023 struggler

Jamie Woodhouse
A shot of the podium overlooking the Yas Marina circuit for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Yas Marina circuit: Home of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Logan Sargeant squandered an “easy” passage to Q2 with a pair of track limits breaches in Abu Dhabi, Sky F1 presenter Simon Lazenby fearing that is the “final nail” for his Williams career.

Battling to secure a second season in Formula 1 as a Williams driver, Sargeant’s seat is the only one unconfirmed for next season as F1 2023 reaches its final round in Abu Dhabi.

And after building some positive momentum over recent rounds, Abu Dhabi GP qualifying was a major blow for Sargeant, as a whitewash of qualifying defeats to team-mate Alex Albon was confirmed.

Fears Logan Sargeant sealed his Williams fate with Q1 errors

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Sargeant saw his lap time deleted not once, but twice for breaching track limits at Turn 1 during the opening stage of qualifying, confirming a back-of-the-grid start.

The American racer held his hands up for the errors, claiming Q2 was definitely on without them.

“At the end of the day it’s my mistake, twice,” Sargeant told media including PlanetF1.com’s Thomas Maher in Abu Dhabi.

“I just feel like we’re to a point we can’t see the white line. We don’t really have any feeling on the exit so it just forces us to under drive to be honest, and it’s hard to do on a qualifying lap because of course you’re trying to push the limits.

“But still my mistake, I have to take that on the chin. Just disappointing because I feel like I’ve been driving well again this weekend and literally nothing to show for it after qualifying. We easily had the pace to go to Q2, that’s for sure.

“Disappointing, because tomorrow is going to be tough now from the back of the grid, but just move on and do my best.”

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Sargeant understandably cut a downbeat figure after his Abu Dhabi qualifying nightmares, this his final chance to impress Williams team boss James Vowles who is waiting until the season is over to make a decision.

And Lazenby fears this double Q1 error has made Vowles’ mind up on Sargeant’s future.

“Well, I wonder if that’s the final nail?”Lazenby said.

“Because he had it there, it was a mistake, he’s admitted it. He’s hanging by a thread at the moment, isn’t he?”

Sky F1 pundit Naomi Schiff said she would not want to be in Sargeant’s boots right now, with one chance left in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to “wow” Williams and keep his place in the team.

“I mean, that’s not going to be a tick in James Vowles’ book of reasons to keep him in a seat,” said Schiff. “But, tomorrow is still an opportunity for him to wow them.

“He has said he’s waiting right until the end of the season to make that decision, but I wouldn’t want to be in his boots tonight.

“I think he’s going to be kicking himself for that. He didn’t lose the lap once, he lost it twice. So to make that mistake twice, when you know how crucial this moment is for you, it’s not a good feeling I’m sure.”

With Sargeant having not set a valid lap time in Q1, Williams will now go to the stewards to gain permission for Sargeant to race on Sunday.

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