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Alexander Albon

Albon had Russell flashbacks during Canada Qualifying gamble

The Williams driver was able to advance through to Q3 - and top a Qualifying segment for the team.

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To news overview © XPBimages

Alexander Albon has revealed he had flashbacks to George Russell in 2022 during his Canadian Grand Prix Qualifying Formula 1 tyre gamble.

In wet conditions in Montreal, the track dried enough at the start of Q2 for some drivers to attempt a slick tyre run - with Albon's Williams team the first to switch to the red-marked Soft compound tyres.

It worked for the Thai driver as he topped the Q2 segment - the first time a Williams driver had done so in Qualifying since Felipe Massa at the 2016 Belgian Grand Prix - with ninth on the grid being his reward in the heavily-upgraded FW45 machine.

But in taking the gamble, Albon revealed Russell's 2022 attempt on slicks in similar conditions was in the back of his mind.

Albon's Russell flashbacks

"We had good pace, and were P6 in Q1 or whatever it was," Albon told media including RacingNews365.

"We were feeling good, but we didn't need to take the risk in Q2 [to go on slick tyres] but we just felt like it was the right thing to do, and we made the call.

"I was quite surprised when everyone rolled out, seeing everyone on Inters, which kind of made me doubt [the decision] a little bit.

"I had George from last year in the back of my head, and on my first push lap, I was particularly slow through Turn 1 and Turn 2, just to make sure I avoided [where Russell went off in 2022].

"It was great to get through and a bit of fun to be P9.

"Q3 was tricky because the track suddenly became much wetter, and to get the tyres in the right window suddenly became much harder.

"I was struggling a little bit with that as the tyres were cooling down on the straights, and when the rain picks up, that's generally okay as you are doing consecutive running and you're just getting quicker and quicker, but on the second lap, I made a mistake.

"I just lost a bit of tyre temperature going into the last corner after the big long back straight, and that was it really, when I saw Oscar [Piastri] facing backwards, I knew it would be too wet when we went back out again."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Upgrades working well

Albon is armed with the large Williams upgrade package in Montreal, encompassing a new floor, sidepod inlets, rear suspension and rear wing.

After confessing that Barcelona was perhaps the worst track for the old-spec car, Albon admitted the upgrades were doing well at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

"Just looking at the whole weekend, it is a great results and shows that with the package, we are getting there," he said.

"We knew this track would suit us more than Barcelona, but generally speaking it is quite harder to feel because it is such a different circuit to Barcelona: It is bumpy, there are chicanes, all about curve-riding and lower downforce tends to work in your favour.

"It was always going to be a track that suited us, but just to get that time means we are much more competitive, so we made a good step, but I am not sure whether it will carry to Austria or Silverstone, but around here, our race pace was very strong."

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