Japanese Grand Prix Qualifying Report | williams racing

The grid was set for the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix and Alex Albon missed out on a place in Q2 by just six hundredths of a second when he qualified P16.

His teammate Nicholas Latifi, who was carrying a five-place grid penalty, set a time that placed him in twentieth position in the order.

Saturday brought clearer conditions than the day before, causing a queue at the end of pit lane with all the teams keen to get some dry data under their belt.

The wind was causing some challenges for our duo during the hour of practice, but Alex was able to put in the most laps on the medium tire compound and we finished the session in P12 and P19.

As qualifying progressed, Nicky was the first man out on track while doing a setup check on an installation lap.

After the first push lap of our pair, Alex sat P14 with Nicky in P19 – our rider from Thair would have his effort removed for a track limits violation, putting everything on his final race.

Alex would eventually lose by just 0.055s, putting his FW44 on P16 with Nicky two tenths back on P20.

Once again we were fastest through the speed traps which, with the threat of changing conditions, gives the team reason to be optimistic about moving up the rankings in race conditions tomorrow.

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“The end of our lap was slow because the cars in front of me were very slow in sector 3 so the tires weren’t ready.

“I was sliding really fast at the beginning of the lap and that makes the tires overheat. More than any other circuit it is very detrimental to lap time.

“Our race pace was fine in the dry, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens tomorrow.”

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Nicky was happy with the progress made throughout the day and is already turning his attention to tomorrow’s Grand Prix, sharing: “The way FP3 went, qualifying was better than expected.

“It was the first time I drove this track in the dry. However, I only managed to do two representative laps in FP3.

“It is quite difficult to get up to speed on the track itself as it requires a lot of commitment and full confidence in the car. Having only a few laps to really push it to the limit was unfortunate.

“I am happy with the steps I took and as a team we went in the right direction with the car. Being a few tenths from Q2 is positive as it wasn’t a perfect lap with some mistakes in between.

“We are very quick down the straight here so if we manage to get ahead of the cars tomorrow it could be interesting.”

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“We needed everything to go well to progress and we didn’t get it today; we need to look at the session and understand how to be better.

“The tires need careful preparation to get a good lap and with Alex having to slow down for the cars ahead just before opening his lap, he couldn’t get the perfect preparation.

“Nicholas made some big changes to his car after FP3 and although they went in a good direction and gave him a more competitive car for qualifying, he was unable to maximize performance in the two laps he had in Q1.

“It seems certain that tomorrow it will rain at some point and this could easily affect the Grand Prix.

“Although we started the race further back than we expected, there should be opportunities to get back into a good position before the checkered flag.”

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