Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2023 – Sprint

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: Today was the first running of the new sprint event format, which replaced the old free practice session with a qualifying shootout. Going straight into qualifying on a dusty track wasn’t easy but both drivers adapted well and were set to qualify for the 2nd section of the shootout. Unfortunately, Logan hit the wall on his final flying lap; despite a big effort from the team, we were unable to rebuild the car in time for the sprint race. We will complete the rebuild overnight and he will take his place in the Grand Prix tomorrow.

Alex enjoyed a smoother shootout session and continued where he left off yesterday evening. He found good pace in the car, made no mistakes and was able to qualify a very impressive 7th place, helped by the fact that Norris was unable to take part.

With points in the sprint race only awarded to the top 8 finishers, it was always going to be difficult to challenge the four fastest teams. Alex competed hard, pushed the car hard but was unable to stay ahead of the Aston Martins.

Scoring no points on a day where we were constantly competing near the front is very frustrating, but we are pleased with the pace of FW45, especially as we brought only minor updates this weekend. We are now looking forward to the Grand Prix and another chance to score some points.

Alex Albon: I’m on the fence with the sprint race if I’m honest; it’s rewarding the top four teams and they’re already a step ahead of everyone else. It was a great race for us, but we just don’t have the pace compared to them, so unfortunately no reward for today and we’ll shift our focus to tomorrow. It’s frustrating to be sitting out of the points in the sprint when P9 in a normal race would mean points and be an excellent result for us. We were the best of the rest today, so we can take some happiness from that, and know it’s now our job to get closer to the top four.

Logan Sargeant:That is our first sprint day of the season done. Clearly it didn’t go the way we wanted it to go, but I think there were some good positives to the Sprint Shootout considering the speed that we had as a team and I feel like we were able to find a better window for me and the car at the start of the session. Obviously, I’m sad to have ended it the way we did, but I’m looking forward to using some of that pace tomorrow and having a good race.

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