A Point for Albon
Updated: Apr 29
Alexander Albon put on a stunning performance in Australia for the Williams F1 team.
After just three races together, Alexander Albon and Williams Racing have scored points together in Australia. The team and driver pulled off a daring strategy; start the race on a set of hards and stay on that set until the last possible moment, then pit on the last lap. The plan barely sounds feasible, yet the pair masterfully accomplished just that. Albon stayed out for a maddening 57 laps before pitting on the final one. The strategy saw the Williams FW44 cross the line in tenth position, the final scoring spot, allotting Albon a single point.
The unlikely duo had just pulled off a monumental accomplishment.
Alexander Albon and Williams Racing seem to be a mismatched pairing at first glance. Last season Albon was a sim driver for Red Bull, the bitter rivals of those who now provide the Mercedes powerplant that powers his current car.
Yet, the duo does make sense upon further consideration. After a year spent out of F1, Albon was eager for a way back in, and with the departure of George Russell from the team, Williams needed another talent to fill the void. The two groups fit each other’s needs well, at least on paper. But, after three races together, the potential of the pairing is being realized.
It is common knowledge that Williams Racing, the beloved historic F1 institution, has struggled in recent years. George Russell, the Mercedes heir, ran sixty races with the team from 2019-to 2021. He managed to score with them three times, for twelve total points, all of which occurred in the 2021 season. However, nine of the twelve points came from the unfortunately rained-out Spa-Francorchamps race, a race that saw half points with no green flag ever dropping. The rain-out allowed Russell's outstanding qualifying performance to secure him the points. Russell only scored points with Williams twice under green flag conditions, finishing 10th and 9th once, respectively. Nicholas Latifi, Russell's old teammate, and Albon's current, has comparatively scored points with Williams only twice in his 43 starts, one of which was also at the same rained-out Spa race.
When compared to Russell and Latifi’s body of work at Williams, the feat Albon accomplished in Australia rises in magnitude.
Unfortunately, things are not much different this year than in years past for Williams regarding pace. The point is likely an exception, not the rule. The team has found themselves near the back of the midfield, and is currently last in constructors' standings, as Albon’s point at Australia remains their only one to date.
Still, it is evident that Albon is near the limit of the FW44’s potential, as he has drug the car near, or into, the points on a few occasions now. His average finish of 12th is also quite impressive, and is comprehensively better than Latifi’s 16.5.
Albon and Williams were an unlikely match, but races such as Australia prove that the two are getting the best out of each other. It also proves that there is always potential for more.