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James Vowles

Vowles hails Albon for 'extraordinary' achievement

After starting from P9 on the grid, Alex Albon achieved Williams' best result of the 2023 F1 season so far by finishing the Canadian Grand Prix in seventh place.

Albon Canada
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Williams Team Principal James Vowles has hailed Alex Albon's "extraordinary" drive to P7 at the Canadian Grand Prix.

Having lined up in P9 on the grid, Albon initially slipped backwards but found his way back into the top 10 after making a one-stop strategy work in his favour.

The British-Thai driver defended against drivers behind – including the likes of Esteban Ocon – all while running on older Hard tyres, an achievement that Vowles has called a "drive of champions".

Strategy call

While the team had always planned to opt for a one-stop strategy, Vowles admits that the early deployment of the Safety Car – following George Russell's crash – offered a fresh opportunity for the squad.

"At the beginning of the race, that Safety Car obviously changed things quite significantly and it made it very difficult for a number of competitors, but also created that opportunity to us," Vowles explained in Williams' The Vowles Verdict video.

"We knew the life would just about be possible on that Hard tyre from then onwards, and what we did is from that point onwards [was to stay] open-minded to converting to a two[-stop strategy], but the situation never really appeared for us to do so.

"Had there been another Safety Car or VSC [Virtual Safety Car], you would have seen us stop again, for example. That's another circumstance [where] we would have converted, [as] that one-stop would have been very difficult then."

Vowles: Albon put in a drive of champions

The strategy worked out well for the team, but Vowles has also credited Albon's performance with making the result possible.

"As it turns out, we were on the right strategy, and Alex did really a tremendous job," Vowles explained.

"The way I described it to him was really [as] a drive of champions.

"To make no mistake when you have a stack of cars behind you that are clearly much quicker, with your tyres going away from you, is an extraordinary drive and he did incredibly well with it."

Albon's result enabled Williams to leapfrog AlphaTauri in the Constructors' standings, putting the Grove-based team in ninth place and only one point away from Haas in eighth.

F1 2023 Canadian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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