Alex Albon isn't optimistic about his chances in Bahrain this weekend.
The Williams driver says that although the team have made good progress over winter, it could be another tricky season for them – starting in the Middle East. The famous Grove outfit look to be in a better place than 12 months ago, even if their lack of a technical director has raised some eyebrows in the paddock.
But that is still unlikely to be enough for Albon and team-mate Logan Sargeant to finish inside the top ten, even if the Thai-Brit star isn't ruling it out completely.
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Speaking exclusively to Daily Star Sport on Thursday ahead of the season-opener, Albon is hoping the impressive reliability of his car, as shown during pre-season testing, can help him in Bahrain.
"A circuit like this doesn’t suit our car too well," Albon said. "The long, combined corners in Bahrain aren’t our strong suit, so I’m not expecting too much. That being said, last year we made it into Q2 and we almost scored points in 13th.
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"Coming into the weekend I’m a bit more of a pessimistic than an optimistic, but I think we can take some steps forward."
Looking closer at what a good weekend would look like for him personally, Albon continued: "An amazing result would be 10th, but that would be tricky.
"Short term, I’m think if we can get into Q2 and be a bit creative with our strategy ,maybe we can get towards the fringes and hope some drivers run into some reliability problems. Then we can finish in a good position."
Despite what could prove to be a tough weekend for Williams, Albon is excited for the challenge ahead and believes there is definite progress in the car.
"It feels like the winter break was quite short, but I’m motivated to get going again," he said. "When you drive the car and get the initial feeling, you know whether it’s going to be a good year or not.
"I feel like we’ve made progress with the car, which adds to the excitement."
However, that excitement is tempered by realism with what Williams can achieve. "Realistic, it doesn’t necessarily look as though it’ll be an easy year. We’re going to make the most of the opportunities.
"Reliability was good over testing so hopefully that can play a part. Let's see."
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