Use Albon’s “Cheap Upgrade” to get the best qualifying result for the return of Formula 1

The Briton came ninth fastest in qualifying at Spa with the quickest first sector of anyone, having advanced to the top ten on penalties after finishing the first quarter in sixth place and finishing tenth in the second quarter.

But due to penalties imposed on qualified driver Max Verstappen, Ferrari rival Charles Leclerc and Alpine driver Esteban Ocon, will line up for sixth.

It marked the biggest comeback for Williams and Toro Rosso on Saturday, as the former Red Bull driver posted his best-ever finish fourth in the 2020 championships in Austria, Tuscany, Turkey and Bahrain.

According to Williams’ head of performance, Dave Robson, the rev was the result of a “cheap” circuit-specific upgrade to the FW44 that kept the car efficient.

Weather conditions also played a role as the car was still sensitive to the wind which in particular spoiled the Hungarian qualifying laps for both Albon and his teammate Nicholas Latifi during the final turn.

“We went for a relatively cheap upgrade, recently cutting the rear end of the rear wing, but that actually worked out really well,” said Robson.

“[It has] Maintain a very good level of proficiency for this drag level.

“I think the other thing here is that the wind level is low, so the car behaves well and is consistent, which helps.

“As we lower the level of downforce, the fact that you still have that consistency is helpful.

“At least drivers generally know what they are going to get at every corner. So the effective efficiency is good.”

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Albon’s Q2 and Q3 laps were marked by errors, with his ideal lap time being good enough for a seventh.

But that slightly precarious approach was because he had “nothing to lose” knowing he wouldn’t start at least ninth because of penalties.

Likewise, Albon was dispatched early in the third quarter without a drag as Williams was confident track development had waned and wanted to make sure he had fresh air to manage the tire temperatures.

Albon, who ran an all-new power unit, believes the Spa helped “hide” the car’s flaws more than most places.

He said: We know the weakness of our car. This path hides them a little more than the other circuits. So [Zandvoort, next race] He won’t be smiling like this week.

“We know our car loves low downforce, and when the track conditions are in place for us, we can have a good time getting out of the car.”

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