Williams did not begin the season as they would intend to do it. With two heavy incidents in Saudi Arabia for Nicholas Latifi, that meant big efforts in order to get the car ready for Melbourne, he was involved again in a collision with Lance Stroll during the Q1 in Australia.
After suffering damage in Jeddah after a collision with Stroll, Albon went down under with a three-place grid penalty, but was later disqualified and had to start the race from the back of the grid after failing to provide a fuel sample by the end of qualifying. Needless to say, Williams really had to deliver a good result.
They did, after taking a big risk with Albon’s tyre strategy. The team decided to put a set of brand new hard tyres for the race, and decided to leave him out during the few safety car periods we’ve seen in Australia.
When he finally pitted a lap before the end of the race (!), he dropped from 7th to 10th and secured first point for Williams, that puts them ahead of Aston Martin in the championship standings.
In a recent interview with motorsport.com, the team boss Jost Capito was relieved the team was finally able to get a good result. As he said: "Of course, it's a relief for the team. 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 admitted that the continuous incidents were definitely heavy to take for the team. As he said: “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 Williams team boss said that the decision to leave Albon for this long on his hard tyres was not something the team decided beforehand, but they have seen the opportunity during the race. As he said: "It came through the race. 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.”
As mentioned before, this one point picked up during the Australian GP put Williams in 9th in Constructors' Championship, which means that Aston Martin is the only team that so far has failed to score any points. The beginning of the season has definitely seen a shift in the dynamics on the grid, and it will be interesting to see how various teams deal with it throughout the season.