After a dire start to the season and a horrible experience in qualifying in Australia earlier this year, one might have been forgiven for writing off Williams regarding a top 10 finish.
McLaren’s Lando Norris was in disbelief when Williams’ Alex Albon, having been disqualified from qualifying, came through the field, making his only stop ahead of the final lap, to manage P10.
He was, at one stage, within 10 seconds of Norris in P5 and four behind Daniel Ricciardo in P6 before his stop onto the Softs that saw him beat Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu to the final point.
With the Grove-based side getting on the board in round three, Rosanna Tennant asked Norris during a Formula 1 live show if his team might have to consider Williams a midfield battler.
“So, you’re going to have to write the Williams guys into the midfield battle now?” she pondered.
“Yes,” interjected Albon.
“How far behind Daniel were you? Where did you finish?” enquired Norris.
“I was about four seconds behind him on the second last lap, and then I had to pit for another set of tyres,” said the Thai-Briton, adding: “I did the whole race not pitting.”
“No way! You should have just finished, screw the rule mate,” was the McLaren driver’s shocked response.
Norris was then made aware of the fact that Albon had managed to get into the points on the Sunday, leading to greater surprise.
“You got points?” exclaimed an even more shocked 22-year-old.
“I was like ‘yeah right, you finished P10, it’s not April [Fool’s] you muppet!”
Albon had started the race on the Hards from P20, and was able to extract consistent lap times from them until his stop on lap 57.
“It was good, it was a hard one. We fought hard and it was like qualifying for 30 laps for us,” he told Sky Sports.
“I don’t know what it is about that tyre, but that Hard tyre suits us every time we put it on, and of course P10 seems unimaginable to us.
“When you come into your race strategy meeting, it’s P19 and P20, and we had a big chunk to P18 but it worked.”
Since Australia, Albon has scored in Miami, while Norris managed a podium at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Williams have now been dumped back down to 10th in the Constructors’ Standings after Aston Martin’s recent upturn in form.