How did you not stop?

Alexander Albon achieved a real feat in the 2022 Formula 1 Australian GP: starting last, the Williams driver recovered up to the points thanks to a unique strategy.

The Australian Grand Prix he gave a lot of emotions, especially positive for Ferrari, which dominated the scene over the weekend and in the end triumphed again with Leclerc, now first in the drivers’ standings at +34 over Russell. Many other emotions came from the retirements, above all that of Max Verstappen, in Red Bull, and precisely of the Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz. But that’s not all, what aroused attention and disbelief in Australia strategiesof which one in particular: that of Alexander Albon with Williams. The Anglo-Thai driver, in fact, who started from the last spot of the starting grid after the disqualification in Saturday’s qualifying, managed to cross the finish line in tenth position (and therefore to earn a point) by running for 57 laps on the same tires before having to stop at the penultimate lap for the obligatory pit stop.

A an unusual tactic adopted by Williams, but which produced a result that no one expected. Albon is indeed he started from the last position and recovered until he reached the points. While everyone else was returning for pit stops, the former Red Bull was grinding positions: he had to stop on lap 57 for the mandatory tire change when he was already in seventh position.

A challenge that has therefore rewarded the work of the driver and the team, which thus obtained the first point of the year. “It was as good as it was hard – commented Albon after the checkered flag – because we really fought hard. We had to take risks because we had nothing to lose. We took the time to get the tires into the right window of use, and this is something you can afford when starting from the bottom: for us it was like a 30-lap qualifying session.

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The driver then returned to the choice of tires: “I don’t know what’s in that hard tire, but it suits us every time we put it on. We didn’t use the tire that wore a lot – he added – opting for the hard one as, with the degradation reduced, I was going faster and faster as the fuel load went down. It was an unexpected result – concluded Albon – but which highlights all the work done in the factory and on the track. I’m happy to have obtained this result for the whole team ”.

As for the strategy adopted, the Williams driver then explained how it was not studied at the table but it was decided lap after lap, analyzing the behavior of the car: To be honest I have to say that it was not decided a priori. I was surprised at the failure to enter the pits both on the occasion of the Virtual Safety Car and of the two safety cars – Albon admitted -. I thought they knew something at the wall that I didn’t know. When I no longer had one of the two Haas in front of me I managed to do my race and ran away from the pursuers. I had older tires than the others, but I was able to run more or less on the same times as McLaren“.

Curious then the curtain which, at the end of the race, saw the Williams driver involved with Lando Norris, British from McLaren. The latter, who finished in fifth place, was amazed and joked with the Anglo-Thai that the Williams driver had scored points with this unique strategy. “How did you not stop? I do not believe it! You just had to finish the race, who cares about the rules friend” Norris said mockingly. “I wasn’t kidding when I told you I was four seconds behind Daniel Ricciardo” replied Albon. “I was thinking ‘Yeah oh well, you finished in tenth place’, it’s not the the first of April the English finally concluded laughing.

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