Alexander Albon, from the onset of the race, had taken his place at the fourth position. However, he found himself falling behind in the lineup. He was among the tiny faction of drivers – only five – who had chosen to stick with slicks, deciding against a delayed swap to intermediates.
Subsequent events saw Albon clawing his way back up the ranks, even securing a spot as high up as sixth. However, his luck seemed to turn with the weather as the finishing phase of the race was marred with a resurgence of rain.
According to Vowles, the initial decision made by the team not to pit early was, in hindsight, incorrect. “You either stop on lap one or lap two, or you stay out,” Vowles divulged to F1 Initiative, “And the real wrong that a number of teams did is then stop after that point. Once you’re committed, commit.”
Why didn’t they pit? Vowles answers, “The reason why we didn’t stop was on the radar initially it didn’t look like it was going to be as bad as it was. Now, clearly, the losses were quite significant to inter runners.”
This dint, however, did not demolish their spirits completely. “You still saw us come back into a points position. It’s not outlandishly terrible, but it was the wrong decision.”
When the rain returned towards the end of the race, Albon once again stayed out while most participants made a pitstop. This strategic call, as per Vowles, was another incorrect decision. “What we need to go back and do is go look at our systems, our tools, our communication, what can we improve in that process? Because we got it wrong,” he admitted.
Vowles continued, “The second stop as well, coming in for those inters, again, that was wrong. That was one lap late. On all of these the key point is to reflect on it. We know it’s one lap late, that’s the easy but the hard bit is how in hindsight, with all the information you have, can you pull that back and do a better decision with it?”
Albon, who eventually crossed the finish line at the eighth position, echoed his team leader’s sentiments, noting that a detailed analysis was needed. “We need to review that second pitstop call,” he stated, sharing his experience, “And then within 10 seconds, we went from a slick to a full wet tyre. And I was crawling in the last four corners, and we lost out to Lando [Norris] and George on the on the undercut.”
However, he admitted, “It’s one of those things. It feels like we finished today slightly disappointed that we didn’t finish sixth, but we still finished eighth. It’s still an amazing result for us.”
Reiterating the strong performance of his team during the event, Albon stated, “And we’ve been here on pace this weekend, there’s no mistake about it. It’s been our strongest weekend. It’s the best I’ve felt in the car in my time at Williams.”
He also added, “I do think we’ve been a little bit unlucky, I think, in a weird way we didn’t take the risks, like some others, to pit so early in the inter tyres, because in that sense, it was actually quite a risk to do that.” Ultimately, Albon concluded, “It wasn’t actually inters by the time they pitted. But during the lap itself, it turned to inters.”