Alex Albon admits he is more concerned by Williams’ pace loss between practice and qualifying in Mexico City than being denied a place in Q3 by a deleted lap time.

Williams appeared in strong shape heading into qualifying after Albon wound up second in two of the three practice sessions, only 0.070s behind Max Verstappen in FP3.

However, Albon struggled throughout qualifying with the balance of the FW45, even querying to his race engineer at one stage that his car might have developed a problem.

Albon managed a fine last-gasp effort in the second stage to secure a spot in Q3 but his lap was then deleted for exceeding track limits at Turn 2, dropping him back to 14th.

Having been shown replays of the incident, Albon has challenged the stewards’ call.

“I spoke to Dave Redding [Williams Team Manager] and they showed an external view of the shot of me in Turn 2 and my rear tyre still looks like it’s on the white line,” he contended.

“Maybe I’m wrong, I’d like to be wrong, would make me less frustrated. I hope in a weird way I do have track limits but from what I saw I didn’t’.”

He added: “For me, the problem is they made the white line thicker, what they did in Austin, it’s a great initiative to stop track limits, they then move the bollard which is okay but if you miss the bollard through Turn 2 surely that should be self-policing, as soon as you miss the bollard it should be legal.

“The snapshot they did of me was while my car is halfway in the air… technically I’m not track limits as my four wheels are off the ground!

“Even the snapshot they have my rear tyre is on the white part of the kerb so you can’t even tell what the white line is or what’s the kerb.”

Alexander Albon (THA) Williams Racing. 28.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 20, Mexican Grand Prix, Mexico City, Mexico, Qualifying Day.

Albon concedes that the bulk of his frustration resides with Williams’ sudden slump in pace, having looked to be assured top 10 contenders before qualifying.

The ex-Red Bull affiliate insists that the Grove squad must strive to understand the issue that left him treating his qualifying runs like “race laps” to preserve the tyres.

“More frustrating than that is just the lack of pace. Four-five tenths slower than FP3. Lost a lot of grip out there,” Albon bemoaned.

“I need to review it, the other drivers struggled, but for me it was from Turn 1 lacking rear grip, and as you lack the rear grip it escalates, as you start sliding more and then the tyre becomes out of control, my laps were more like race laps I had to do so much tyre management through my quali laps just to keep the rears alive in Sector 3.

“It’s something we need to review, because it was the same last year, same in FP1 to FP2 yesterday, and it’s happened again.”

To this point, Albon has been stumped to provide a logical reason for Williams’ contrasting Saturday fortunes around the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit.

“Ambient temperature is similar, morning to afternoon, but the grip loss for us is quite significant,” he underlined. “We need to review it.

“I actually think it was coming to us, by Q2 run two I was in a much better place and thought finally Q3 here we come but it never came.”

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