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F1 Grand Prix of The Netherlands - Practice ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - AUGUST 25: James Vowles, Team Principal of Williams looks on from the pitwall during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of The Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort on August 25, 2023 in Zandvoort, Netherlands.

Vowles: Perez move on Albon could ruin Williams F1 2023 season

Albon had Perez lunging in down the inside under the bridge at last weekend's Singapore Grand Prix, ruining the Thai drivers race

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Williams boss James Vowles believes Sergio Perez’s move on Alex Albon in Singapore could hurt the Grove Formula 1 team’s season, losing important championship points.

F1 Grand Prix of SingaporeSINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 17: Alexander Albon of Thailand driving the (23) Williams FW45 Mercedes on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 17, 2023 in Singapore, Singapore.
Albon was running a strong race for Williams until the incident with Perez (Image Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Albon had labelled the next three race after Monza as having “no chance” of picking up points. The Marina Bay Circuit did not suit the strengths of the FW44 with its lack of straights and the high-downforce requirements.

However, the Thai driver produced a decent display in Singapore. Williams mirrored the strategy used by Mercedes under the Virtual Safety Car, switching to medium tyres. This enabled Albon to have strong pace towards the end of the race.

The 27-year-old found himself in 10th, closing on AlphaTauri driver Liam Lawson for ninth. However, he would collide with Perez, resulting in the Thai dropping down the order.

The Mexican would receive a five-second time penalty for colliding with another driver. The Red Bull driver sent it down the inside of the Williams driver when there was no space.

Despite the collision, Albon was able to recover to 11th at the chequered flag. However, the Grove team was left with zero points heading out of Singapore.

Perez incident costly

Vowles believes that Albon would have been able to pass Lawson before the chequered flag. The Williams boss believes eighth was possible with George Russell’s crash on the final lap.

Therefore, the Perez incident has cost Williams four points. AlphaTauri managed to earn two points with Lawson and Haas managed to earn one with Kevin Magnussen.

Heading to Japan this weekend, there are seven races to go in the 2023 season. Williams are currently seventh with 21 points, ahead of Haas on 12, Alfa Romeo on 10 and AlphaTauri on five.

Vowles spoke to after the race in Singapore, believing valuable points had been lost due to the incident with Perez:

“Quite a few points on the table were taken away.

“It is frustrating that when you’re in a championship that’s being fought down to the point, and you’re leading against your direct rivals in this championship, to have it taken away from you hurts.”

The Williams boss believes Perez’s move on Albon was “without good reason”, describing it as a “lunge”.

“For a number of laps prior Perez was very much on the inside and trying to put his nose there. That in itself isn’t a problem, you’ve got to do aggressive techniques.

“But Alex had already committed to the turn-in point. And it’s overlapping at the back and it was contact into the sidepod. There was no way that was going to work.

“So it’s incredibly frustrating. You are into fine, fine margins. And this could be what decides the championship positions.”

F1 Grand Prix of SingaporeSINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 17: Alexander Albon of Thailand driving the (23) Williams FW45 Mercedes on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 17, 2023 in Singapore, Singapore.
Williams will hope Singapore can give hope for Japan and Qatar, despite them not suiting the FW44 (Image Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Positives to take after Singapore

With Albon believing that Williams had “no chance” in Singapore, Vowles believes that the race showed again that the Grove outfit is in good form.

“The main thing is I think you can see the team really giving it their all, and Alex giving his all,” he said.

“We know we were on the backfoot this weekend, but we made a set of really good decisions that actually didn’t necessarily all happen in the race – the decision to have two mediums took place weeks ago.

“But that all came to fruition when that VSC came out. And the ability to take those opportunities is great. And it was fantastic to see Alex fight through again.”

The team doesn’t believe that they will have great pace in the next two race in Japan and Qatar. However, after Singapore the team may have a glimmer of hope.

The Grove team will be aiming big at Las Vegas, with the track having long straights, suiting the FW44.

Williams will be hoping to maintain seventh in the constructors’ championship as the difference in prize money for each position is huge.

Feature Image Credit: Peter Fox via Getty Images

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