The team realised after testing that it hadn’t made the expected step with the FW44, and then progress wasn’t helped by two heavy accidents in Saudi Arabia for Nicholas Latifi that led a huge effort to ready his car for Melbourne. Latifi was then involved with a collision with Lance Stroll in Q1 in Australia.
Meanwhile having suffered damage in a collision with Stroll in the Jeddah race Alex Albon went to Australia with a three-place grid penalty, only to be excluded from qualifying and sent to the back of the grid after he failed to provide a fuel sample. He was told to stop on track at the end of Q1 after the need to do an unexpectedly fast out lap after the red flag saw consumption higher than expected.
For the race the team put Albon on new hard tyres and then gambled on leaving him out during the various safety car periods. He was running seventh on the penultimate lap when he finally pitted and secured 10th. The single point puts Williams in ninth in the World Championship, ahead of Aston Martin.
“Of course, it’s a relief for the team,” Capito told Motorsport.com. “To get a point early in the season is quite encouraging. We had a very difficult start. And also this weekend was difficult after Saturday.
“But that’s a good thing in racing, that things can change on a Sunday. And it’s not over before it’s over. And if you keep pushing and always be motivated and keep the team alive, and believing in itself in difficult times, then fortune can change. Sometimes has it go worse before it gets better.”
Capito acknowledged that the run of accidents had been difficult for the team.
“No damage today. It really helps for Imola! It was hard for the mechanics to get both cars ready for here, with the chassis repair and all that, so I think it’s very rewarding for the team to have a point after those really stressful couple of weeks.”
The decision for Albon to pit at the end of the race was not planned, and only emerged after he was able to keep up a good pace on the hard tyres.
“It came through the race,” said Capito. “I think when you are finally you are seventh, you want to enjoy it as long as possible!
“We don’t have the experience with the tyres, and that’s a problem. And we saved the the two primes for each car, so we didn’t drive the primes at all, all weekend. So we had no real idea. We knew from the past that the primes are really good for us. So we hoped that would come out here as well.
“And before the race, we said we just have to learn the tyres. So if we are 18th and 20th on the grid, it’s no way to push too hard, but learn the tyres, and then see what happens when we moved up the field. So then we developed it. It was great cooperation of the pit wall.”
Asked about Albon’s feedback on how the tyres were behaving he added: “Alex hardly said anything. We see it on the lap times. And he would say if something was going on. So it was hardly any communication with him, he is very quiet.”
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