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Alexander Albon

How Albon's pace in Australia surprised a rival team boss

Despite having to start the Australian GP from the back of the grid, a combination of clever tyre management and a favourable Safety Car period saw Alex Albon work his way up to finish in 10th place, prompting Otmar Szafnauer to declare his surprise at Albon's ability to maintain his pace on one set of tyres for almost the entire race.

Albon Australia
To news overview © Williams

Alpine Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer says he was surprised at the pace of Alex Albon in Melbourne, with the Williams driver finishing 10th after running all but one lap of the race on the Hard compound tyre.

Having been disqualified from qualifying after his Williams didn't have enough fuel to supply a sample, Albon started from the back of the grid at Albert Park, but worked his way up to seventh as others made their stops.

With ninth-placed Lance Stroll inadvertently helping him by holding up a train of cars in the closing stages, Albon was able to maintain a good enough pace to make his only pit-stop on Lap 57 of 58 and still emerge in 10th, ahead of Zhou Guanyu.

Speaking after the race, Szafnauer noted that he hadn't expected Albon to be able to lap so consistently on one set of tyres for such a long period of time.

"I wasn't surprised that they scored a point; I was surprised at their pace on a 57 lap-old Hard tyre, so there's things to learn from it," Szafnauer told media including RacingNews365.com.

Szafnauer rues Alonso's bad luck

The French squad's team boss also noted that the natural flow of the race was more beneficial to Albon than to Alpine's own Fernando Alonso, whose strategy was hurt by the deployment of the Safety Car on Lap 28.

Alonso changed onto Medium compound tyres which grained badly after he was stuck behind other cars, and the Spaniard was then forced to pit a second time before finishing outside the points.

"[When the Safety Car was deployed] Fernando was well ahead of Albon," rued Szafnauer.

"When the Safety Car came, had Albon pitted, he would have been at the back of the train, so you don't do that.

"What you really hope for is the red flag, and so they [Williams] did the right thing, they stayed out.

"As it turned out, that tyre, even at 50-plus laps, was still good.

"[Albon] was still putting good lap times in, which meant that Fernando, who got stuck behind the others, ruined his Medium tyres because he was in dirty air, [and] he had to pit again.

"Albon didn't, and [Williams] absolutely did the right thing.”

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