Despite not being able to add to his points tally in Baku, Williams driver Alex Albon called the Azerbaijan Grand Prix "one of his strongest" weekends in the sport.
Albon had finished the Sprint in ninth place so knew he had enough pace in the car to keep others behind in race trim, but was up against it from the word go in the Grand Prix after sustaining damage on the opening lap. A great start saw him side by side with the McLaren of Oscar Piastri into Turn 2 but, on such a tight track, contact was inevitable with Piastri having nowhere to go with the Alfa Romeo of Valtteri Bottas on his outside.
That front wing damage cost Albon downforce and, although he didn’t make it into the points, he was still pleased with his display.
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“I had some damage on my front wing for most of the race following contact with the McLaren, so there was a lot of management to do,” he said afterwards. “It was tricky trying to keep the Haas behind me whilst staying close to Oscar, and not a lot of room for overtaking with the shortened DRS zones.
“We really did maximise this weekend and I think it was personally one of my strongest, especially coming off Australia. I think we definitely have more to find with the car, but I think I’m becoming at one with it, so hopefully we can keep this going.”
Sargeant had a tougher ask, having sat out the Sprint in its entirety following a crash in the Shootout. When he lined up in the Grand Prix, he’d barely turned a wheel in anger since Friday’s qualifying – but insisted afterwards there were positives to take from the race.
“I learned a lot this weekend,” he said. “In the race today, we got a bit unlucky with the Safety Car timing at the start and fell into a bit of a lonely, frustrating race. I was stuck behind Zhou [Guanyu] for most of it. By the time he [retired] it was just too late and I was too far disconnected from the pack ahead.
“However, when I did get in front, the car felt good, I was driving well, and the pace was not too bad at the end. I brought a set of hard tyres a long way and that’s all positive. Our one lap pace this weekend was good, and I was happy considering we only had one free practice session to go into qualifying and have a pretty good one. It was going to be an even better Sprint Shootout until the crash, so I’ll learn from that and move forward.”
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Sargeant won’t have long to wait to get back behind the wheel of the FW45, with his home race in Miami on the horizon this coming weekend.