The Williams team did not assume in advance that Singapore had much to offer, but Alexander Albon seemed to be on his way to a good result for a long time. But the points quickly disappeared like snow in the sun when Sergio Pérez’s failed overtaking action caused contact between the two men, and Albon lost valuable points as a result. After the race, team boss James Vowles emphasizes that the team has lost valuable points due to the incident.
At Williams, they were not counting on points prior to the Singapore Grand Prix, because the Marina Bay Street Circuit essentially did not suit the qualities of the car at all. Yet Albon did well at the start of the race, and the Thai Briton was even on points course. Completely out of line with expectations, it seemed that Williams could surprise again this weekend, until Pérez threw a spanner in the works. The two touched each other and Pérez was ultimately given a five-second penalty for causing the incident, but Albon lost points that Vowles believes will be crucial for the constructors’ championship.
Poor overtaking action by Pérez may cost Williams a place in the championship
Vowles told Autosport.com after the race that the team was able to touch the points with one hand, but they frustratingly disappeared out of reach. ‘There were some points on the table, but they were taken away from us. It’s frustrating that things like this happen when you fight in a championship where every point counts, and then you see points disappear in front of you in a fight against your direct rivals.’ The team boss is not careful with his wording, and he clearly tells it like it is. ‘It happened for no good reason either, because it was really a swipe. There are ways to overtake that are a lot more sensible, and this action was anything but that.’
“Pérez had been pushing for a number of laps,” Vowles begins. ‘That is not really a problem, because aggressive maneuvers are needed in Singapore. But Alex (Alexander Albon, ed.) was already entering and had already positioned himself, and there was no way for Pérez to fit in.’ There is great frustration within the Williams team, and that makes perfect sense. ‘It’s just very frustrating. You are dealing with really small differences in this sport, and losing these points could well cost you a position in the championship.’
Yet there are also plenty of positive points to mention, according to Vowles
Despite the bad luck in the final phase of the race, the team has a lot of positive points to take with them to Japan, according to Vowles. ‘You can really see that the team is doing everything they can to perform well, and Alex is doing that too. We knew we would be at the bottom this weekend, but due to good decisions that didn’t even happen during the race.’ For many teams the Virtual Safety Car threw a spanner in the works, but for Williams it was a pleasant surprise. ‘Everything fell apart when the Virtual Safety Car came onto the track. It was fantastic to be able to tackle those opportunities, and it was great to see Alex battling the competition again.”
It looks good for Williams that they were able to deliver an excellent performance on a circuit where they initially thought they would do worse. “If you look back at the history of our team, we haven’t had two cars in Q2 during qualifying since 2016. That shows that our problems mainly lie at the base.’ Vowles is therefore hopeful for the future. ‘I think we can be competitive again relatively quickly, but maybe not like we were in Zandvoort. There is a possibility, but others have it too. Either we score the points, or the competition does.’
The fact that Williams is taking big steps these days immediately ensures that they can compete competitively for points again, and Vowles does that well. “I think that, if we look at the progress of the past few months, we now go to the circuits with a car that can score points.” This was also the case in Singapore thanks to the right strategic choices, but circumstances threw a spanner in the works.